Milo waved goodbye to his colleagues as they ascended in the giant Atlantean transport that resembled a narwhal. But while they were leaving in triumph and extraordinarily rich, thanks to the Atlanteans, they had all agreed that this wonderful civilization must be protected from their world at all costs. They would insist on that in their final meeting with Mr. Whitmore. There were people even more evil than Rourke who would misuse the power of the Crystal if the city was ever discovered again. While Milo would not be part of that final meeting, they carried a precious farewell gift from Milo to Mr. Whitmore.
As his friends disappeared forever, Milo remained resolved that staying in Atlantis was the right decision. Life back in his world would be even more frustrating than it had been, really knowing the truth of Atlantis but never being able to tell anyone. He was nothing and nobody in his world. That was the official reason for staying and teaching its inhabitants their language and history.
But in truth, Milo's fateful decision was principally because he unexpectedly had someone special standing next to him holding his hand.
In point of fact, he was in love the Queen of Atlantis, and she with him.
He smiled at the beautiful white-haired, brown-skinned woman standing next to him admiring the great vehicle soaring aloft. Kida noticed his admiring glance and blushed. Already Milo was seeing the gentle side of the formidable warrior princess who owned his heart.
The vehicle flew into one of the many enormous lava tubes surrounding Atlantis, and they turned and looked anxiously at each other. In their sudden privacy, both had an incredible urge to be closer. Milo asked expectantly, "Is...is there kissing in your culture, Kida?
Without skipping a beat she mused, "Oh, you mean, like this?"
She reached her arms around his neck, pressed her ample, soft lips against his, and he returned her advance enthusiastically. It seemed to last forever for Milo, and it was heavenly. He'd never kissed a girl before, and it was better than he ever imagined a kiss could be. This far surpassed their reunion hug, when the Crystal returned her safely to his anxious waiting arms after the danger of the volcano had passed. It was pretty clear from the dreamy look in Kida's amazing blue eyes that the kiss held the same significance for her, too.
"I've waited 8,500 years for a boy to kiss me like that, Milo," she joked in perfect Atlantean, "How ironic to think the person I would fall in love with would be a scholar from the outside world, when my whole life has been about defending our world to the death from outsiders."
"Over those years you must have had many fine young warriors pursue you," he responded, still a little tentative in his Atlantean, but realizing he may never speak another word of English ever again.
Kida teased, "Maybe I didn't want a warrior. There are plenty of those here, and as I have noted you are definitely nota warrior, Milo."
Milo retorted, "You just love me for my mind, Kida."
They laughed, and drew closer, but she admitted haltingly, "That I do, Milo. And what a wonderful mind you have to love...you saved us Milo. You saved me. Your love separated me from the Heart of Atlantis. I...I was almost bonded too long...just like my mother."
Milo ran his hand through her incredibly soft white hair, "I love you too Kida. And you dare to love me even though I brought all this death and destruction upon you and your people?"
There was no blame in her eyes, "It would have happened eventually Milo. You stopped them. You didn't know the evil that was in their hearts. And my father was ill, Milo. You didn't hasten his death."
Her voice quivered. They sat and hugged and kissed a very long time. She cried for the first time, knowing she finally had someone to whom she could confide her feelings of grief for her murdered father. When she had cried all the tears out, he dried her face. She gave him a smile of adoration. Curiosity and respect from their very first encounters grew to become love through the common bond of saving her race and the Crystal from certain destruction.
They broke their embrace. He stood and helped her up, and they headed back to the palace. Her aides descended upon them with all kinds of questions, but she waved them off. She sat in her father's throne in the garden, and she motioned for Milo to sit next to her as he had in his conversations with King Kashekim Nedakh.
"What now, Kida?" realizing he literally had the rest of his life ahead of him now – which hopefully would be an incredibly long life, if the Crystal's affects would apply to him, too.
"We dine and rest tonight, and celebrate the restoration of Atlantis' glory thanks to you. Tomorrow we start to explore all those parts of the city that are now out in the open, and then you start teaching me and my people our language and true heritage."
Milo agreed but also scoffed, "That sounds like a grand plan, Kida. But remember it wasn't me who saved everyone. You and the Heart of Atlantis awakened all the stone giants and their energy fields that rescued the City."
She snuggled up close to him, and said firmly, "Had you not read all the inscriptions and shown me the way, we would have all died at the hands of Rourke, not just my father."
"What about your dad? Shouldn't we give him a proper...um...funeral?"
She shook her head, "Oh Milo, how much you know about us, and yet know so little. My people have taken him to a safe place to preserve him until it is the time for his memorial. His spirit is already in fellowship with the other Kings of the Past."
Her words reminded him that it has been the Atlanteans who taught the Egyptians to mummify their pharaohs.
Kida explained further, "The sculptors will make a sky stone for him to join the others with the Heart of Atlantis. There he will watch over us and bless us for all time with the other great Kings."
She smiled and observed tenderly, "Milo, I thought you would ask about us first. You are so kind to think of my father before our needs."
"Well, then, what about our needs?" He blushed. In Milo's era in America, women were never so forward, not to mention so exposed. He drank in the beauty of her skimpy warrior princess outfit that highlighted all her features.
"Do you desire me?" she asked coyly, as she noted him admiring her.
Confronted with her frankness about their feelings, he stammered, "Y-y-yes. Most definitely. From the first time we swam together."
"I noticed that. How much do you desire me, Milo?" she smirked, knowing he was far out of his comfort zone discussing what she knew he wanted. She was amused with his society's conservatism in matters so natural between men and women in her culture. Those were all brave thoughts; she kept trying to convince herself. Inwardly, she was nervous, even though she desired him as much as he did her. These feelings were all so new to her.
"Kida...I want to spend my whole life with you, if that can be," Milo thought how fast she moved, but it took every ounce of control he had to not be over-eager and to just follow where she was taking him.
"I want that too, Milo. And it can be. I am Queen now. I am free to love whoever I want in the entire kingdom. I can assure you Father would have blessed us," she reached her hand and across her throne chair and fondly caressed his face and hair. She loved his light skin and auburn hair, so enticingly different than any Atlantean man.
"Kida, I am not of the kingdom. Are you even allowed to love me?" he dared to ask.
"Are you trying to make this difficult, scholar? This is a detail so quickly corrected," she smiled.
"Herald!" she ordered.
A burly Atlantean walked into the garden throne room. She commanded him, "Make a record, Herald. At this very moment, Milo Thatch is forever a citizen of Atlantis, and is to be known as its savior and benefactor. Tomorrow we shall announce this to the citizenry. Get the word out to everyone of our town meeting."
"It is done, Highness," said the Herald firmly. He bowed and departed in a hurry.
In a society that had forgotten its written language, Milo thought it logical that records would be remembered by 'Heralds', but this was the first proof of that. Every day was going to be an archaeological treasure trove for him, only he would get to discuss it with the very people he admired so much for so long, not by sifting through dusty relics and making theories about bone fragments. The most precious of all the artifacts he had found thus far spoke to him in a whisper against his ear. The lilt of her voice sent a welcome shiver through him.
"You have seen much of me, Milo Thatch. Come now, retire with me. You will see the rest. I am yours forever."
His heart skipped more than one beat, as she reached out and took his hand in hers and pulled him willingly to her chambers. They stood before a truly enormous bed that was hers, adorned ornately. The extended body wrap that she removed for their swim with him was tossed into a corner of the room, along with the rest of her outfit. The gold chain that held her baby bracelet around her neck was the only thing she wore. Milo was astonished at her beauty, and was awkward in removing all of his clothes, staring at her. His physical changes in anticipation of being with her were making things even more difficult for him. Kida saw and smiled at that.
Her dark beauty contrasted delightfully with the pure white sheets of her bed, which excited him even more. But something was wrong. She sat ramrod straight on the edge of her bed, with her hands clasped in her lap and her legs close together. She hadn't reclined. In fact, she looked scared.
Milo noticed her worry, "Kida? Are you all right? You were so confident and...umm...eager earlier."
"I...I...I'm really scared, Milo. I was just hiding my nervousness earlier by trying to look strong."
Milo raised an eyebrow, "You're nervous, too? I thought I was the only one..."
"It's my first time too..." she blushed, and pleasantly understood Milo had never been with a woman.
Milo was dumbfounded, "You've waited millennia...just for me?"
Kida sighed, "Despite the greater openness in our relationships than in your world, Milo, for us it still is about finding the right person before that happens."
Milo was relieved and felt his compassion for Kida grow again, "Wow. I was really worried about 'messing up' or doing something wrong according your culture."
"Me too..."she whispered, looking up shyly at him.
He sat next to her, and put his arm around her bare shoulders. She was shaking. His touch soothed her, and they kissed lightly. Soon she was calm.
"It's going to be just fine, Kida. We love each other. Even the mistakes will be fun, as long as we do them together," he smiled in reassurance.
"That will be nice, Milo. Some fearless 'warrior princess' I am. Afraid of being alone with you..."she teased.
She scooted on her back up to the head of the bed and let her hair drape over the pillows. Milo crawled up with her, admiring every part of her. She got to see him too, and was very pleased at what she saw. He could see her body relax for him, and she smiled up at him, as they began to kiss and explore each other gently.
"You OK, now?" he asked thoughtfully to be sure.
"I think I am always going to be OK whenever I am with you now, Milo," she said softly but scolded, "Umm, Milo you forgot something."
They laughed realizing he was still wearing his glasses. She carefully removed them and gently put them on the table by the bed.
"Now we are ready..." she stated softly.
Kida stroked his face and placed her hand around the back of his neck, pulling him closer to her. In the open air environment of the palace, her aides could not help but overhear the couple's sounds of delight as nervousness became total contentment. While the aides felt a little awkward, they were happy Kida finally found her soul mate, something everyone thought would never happen.
Milo never left Kida's bed at night ever again. It was 'their' bed now.
In the morning, they dressed, ate lightly, and walked to the amphitheater, where the citizens were assembling. The populace quieted as Kida stood for the first time at the podium where her father addressed them so many times before. She was anxious, but she got a look of confidence from Milo, standing near to her, and she felt bolstered.
She began, "Citizens of Atlantis. We have come through a period of great tribulation again. Evil people from the world above with advanced technology much like ours murdered my father, stole the Heart of Atlantis, and kidnapped me for their awful plans that would have misused the power of the Heart on a helpless world again. Milo Thatch discovered their terrible plans and stopped them all before it was too late, while the Heart used me to protect us as my mother did long ago."
A cheer arose from the people.
"For that, we are very grateful. We sent Milo's friends upon their way home with the reward they deserved from us. They will keep our secret, and I trust them."
"Milo has chosen to stay among us. He has the soul of an Atlantean," and her eyes gleamed at him across the dais. No one missed the look.
She continued to praise Milo, "He had faith in us when the world had forgotten we ever existed. He just didn't expect to actually meet us."
Milo and the crowd laughed at that.
She returned to serious remarks, "In his world, Milo is one of their smartest of scholars of history. He wishes to teach us our language again and help us rediscover our heritage. Therefore, from this day forward, Milo is a citizen of Atlantis - the first outsider ever to be so."
People stood on their feet in praise and applause. It took awhile to subside, and Milo took it all in humbly.
Kida walked over to him, and laced her hands into his and pulled him close to her, "More importantly, we have choseneach other."
From some townspeople there were audible gasps, but from others a look of satisfaction to see the rumor confirmed, and a chant arose from all, "Hail Queen Kida! Hail Milo Thatch."
They acknowledged everyone's praise, and all the dignitaries chatted with them as the crowd dispersed to be about their daily business.
Milo hesitated at the arena as Kida headed back with the courtesans for the day's business.
"Milo?" she fretted.
"You go back, Kida. I want to look at this stage. I want to figure out the best way to teach your people. In my world, we'd call this a 'lecture hall' where the most learned men in our society would teach students."
Genuinely interested, Kida asked, "What are those men called, Milo?"
"Then have fun, 'Professor' Thatch. But don't miss lunch with me!"
"Yes, Highness," He bowed to tease her about her invitation being a command, and winked at her eye roll.
Her aides were perplexed at the informality between this couple. But it was clear that they were all going to have to get used to that.
He began to experiment with a way to teach a very large crowd who had forgotten how to generate electricity.
During lunch, Kida asked, "So by making you a citizen, the act is now etched in the memory of our Heralds and will be passed for generations. What would my order look like in our written language?"
Milo admired Kida's sharp, inquisitive mind as he answered, "Well, Kida, I am going to need something to write on. I'll show you all how to make paper and ink, but the skins of animals or stone tablets also work, which I have seen your people use."
The whole afternoon and several days following Milo showed Kida and the Heralds and other royal aides how to take some of their aquatic plants that were like reeds and turn them into rough parchment. Everyone paid rapt attention, especially the Heralds.
He told the head Herald, "I am going to make sure you guys are never out of a job – I am going to teach you how to become 'Scribes' – people who record and remember in a written manner - in addition to being Heralds."
He had their instant respect.
When he had finally created a piece of paper, he dipped a writing instrument - derived from the reptile-bird feathers like an ancient quill pen - into ink milked from ink sacs of the prehistoric nautiloids that lived in the Atlantean waters, and wrote the order of his citizenship on the parchment. Kida was fascinated.
He combined the ancient Atlantean script with the technique of illuminated manuscripts created by monks from the monasteries of the dark ages, and explained that to them as he progressed. He told them of the legends which stated that the Atlanteans taught the Egyptians how to make paper.
Kida was in awe of Milo's intelligence and knowledge. She had seen – no, felt – the difference in Milo from the moment she healed him with her personal Crystal necklace. He was so much like her beloved father, and knew in her heart that is why she loved Milo so much. Both were smart, and kind, and thoughtful. And she wanted children who were that way.
"Milo, you are not only helping us rediscover our history and our impact on the world, you are creating history. You are making us very proud of what we did in the world," and she hugged him. He was beginning to think there was no limit to the depth of her love for him, and felt the same about her.
A few days later, Milo was ready to begin the first writing lesson. Hundreds of citizens were seated in the amphitheater, with a huge fabric screen in front of them. At every seat were iridescent green quill pens, nautiloid ink, and paper.
He had joked earlier during the set up that there must be a lot of really angry, naked reptile birds that supplied all those quills. Kida loved it, but the aides were still getting used to his humor.
Kida was in the front row, anxious to hear him speak. She was very surprised and proud that Milo was wearing for the first time an Atlantean over-the-shoulder blue toga, and she beamed at him. He winked back. He vowed never to wear modern clothing again.
With the casual confidence of a tenured major professor that made Kida's heart soar, Milo spoke in perfect Atlantean, "Tonight we begin the process of bringing literacy back to Atlantis."
He raised his arm to direct their sight to the screen behind him, "This is your alphabet – the building blocks of all written words!"
He flipped on a projector he had made, salvaged from leftover equipment from the expedition. The audience gasped at their projected alphabet, more from the technology demonstrated to project an image rather than their first view of their own alphabet. Kida gave him a very pleased look.
The light source was a flare, with its bright light projected through a modified spyglass lens and makeshift shutter and slide changer. He knew that the supply of hundreds of flares would eventually run out, but vowed to duplicate their chemistry and construction locally. It looked like there was a lot of magnesium around, the basic compound for flares.
At the end of the night, everyone went home with their names for the first time written on paper. They couldn't wait for next week's lesson. In a year Milo had planned lessons so that they would be all be functionally literate and have a working knowledge of their history and the impact it had on the world.
Kida was so pleased with Milo's inspirational teaching session that later that night she made him nearly forget his own name as he shouted hers in the ecstasy she brought him.
In the days that followed, artisans worked laboriously in designing the sky stone for her father. Kida was unhappy with all of them. He saw that increasing frustration, and so worked on a special project in secret.
After she had dismissed the final artist and his designs, which were drawn on reed parchment rather than stone, she sighed and lamented, "We must honor my father by the next cycle of the Crystal."
Milo had deduced that time period was three lunar months in the world above them.
While Kida sat muttering in an angry pout, from under his chair next to her, Milo nonchalantly pulled and unrolled his own design and laid it out in front of her.
She studied it carefully and her blue eyes went wide, "This is it! Oh Milo, you honor my father's memory so much!" and she threw her arms around him and kissed him enthusiastically.
He silently thanked the Easter Island natives and the Mayans, adapting their art styles, and then laughed inwardly at the paradox that it was probably the Atlanteans that influenced their art.
It was another happy night with her that followed her choice of his design. But afterward, when she fell asleep on his bare chest, he drank in the wonderful view of the full expanse of the brown skin of her body slumbering against him, broken only by a small tuft of soft white hair that matched the hair on her head, and reflected on his good fortune. He had long since determined that any night with Kida was a happy night, no matter what happened, as long as they were together.
With Kida's choice of Milo's design made, her father's sky stone project started, and every day he spent working on or supervising the tribute to her father. He was a pretty good stone mason, having many years experience in carefully uncovering artifacts and prehistoric bones. Over the weeks that followed and King Nedakh's stylized image began to appear in the sky stone by his own hand, Atlantis' artisans also gained their respect for this remarkable outsider and his many talents, who was really more knowledgeable of their techniques and their art history than they were.
Almost daily, Kida came to the quarry, and interrupted his sculpting with a huge happy kiss and hug and something delicious to eat together.
The stuffy aides around them chafed a bit. These two showed their affections so easily and so often. Only the oldest aide who had served the family for millennia always smiled and recalled how King Nedakh and his Queen had been the same in their youth – over 20,000 years ago. That energy was good to have back in the royal family. And ultimately that would mean a growing royal family again.
One evening after the two were alone after dinner, the chief aide approached them. He dared to speak frankly, "Highnesses. What about you two? When will you two...umm...wed? We all want Milo to be more than the Queen's consort."
They were a little embarrassed by that. Despite the freedom of their society's views on sexual relationships, it was important for the royals to set a moral compass and formalize their relationship as a family. The head aide was right.
Kida realized the aide meant well, and had probably discussed the same thing with her parents, so she responded through a deep blush, "We have not decided."
Milo leaned over and said, "Kida, let's go talk."
Being grateful to Milo for asking her to leave awhile from an awkward question, she immediately agreed to the walk into a private corner of the courtyard.
Even though this was something he wanted, not wanting to force her into something uncomfortable, Milo suggested, "Don't feel the pressure of that. We're OK as we are."
"But he is right. We do love each other. It istime to marry. But I don't know what our traditions are for a royal engagement and wedding."
He reached out his hand to her, "Let's go find out. I think I know the right place for the answer."
They got in the shark 'stone fish' flier, and headed out to the vast number of newly exposed islands of temples that scholars were just rediscovering after being flooded for centuries. One in particular had caught his interests in the daily reports on archaeology. That is where they were headed.
They stood in an open courtyard with the remains of a dome and pillars. Behind them was another massive mosaic. Kida's jaw dropped. It was a mosaic featuring her parents. This entire temple was a storybook of her parents' lives and relations. It started with the pair as friends from two noble houses – two of the many that existed in truly ancient times. She was a little embarrassed, even by Atlantean moral standards, that in a very explicit panel it showed her parents conceiving her, and delivering her, but it stopped after that. Of course that was the end time when her father unleashed the fury of the Crystal.
The middle panel was the most interesting, though. It was a mosaic of her father and mother's concurrent coronation and their marriage.
Milo was scanning and reading every inscribed word intensely. She could see his mind hard at work, "They got married nearly 20,000 years ago – almost to the day, Kida."
Kida was pleased. Milo was inspired and took her hands in his, and asked, "In my world, the boy asks the girl to marry him."
"Go ahead Milo," she nodded with a smile, happy to sustain one of his traditions.
Milo bent on one knee, cleared his throat and asked, "Kidagakash Nedakh. Please do me the great honor of becoming my wife. Right here in this temple. Just like your father and mother did so long ago, to honor their memory. And then take on your crown."
With a tear in her eye, she hugged him tightly, "Yes, Milo Thatch, I will marry you. You make me so happy. Bless the Kings of the Past that they brought you and me together!"
Plans for the wedding and coronation developed very fast. The population was so excited. Only a few had been around for her father and mother's wedding. Milo transcribed the ceremonies etched in the mosaic for the holy men to use to do their wedding and her coronation ceremonies. Since they couldn't read yet, they had to memorize his recitations. It was tedious but fulfilling work.
In preparation for the ceremonies, Milo said to Kida over pillow talk one late evening, "I have to become one of you."
"But you already are, Milo. You are more of a citizen in a few months than almost any of us in centuries with your knowledge."
"No, I mean I need to wear the mark of being a citizen. Like the other men. Tattoos are not really common for my particular society."
Kida worried, "I always wondered why Audrey, Helga, and Wilhelmina didn't have had tattoos. Is it not a mark of beauty in your society? As Queen I must get the mark of leadership across my forehead, and I want my other cheek adorned too. Am I not pretty to you with my marks? Will I still be beautiful to you if I get more?"
He assured her, "Kida, you are very beautiful with your tattoos. I would not have you any other way. Many societies in the modern world consider tattoos a mark of beauty for their women and handsomeness for their men."
As he stroked her cheek, she leaned into it and closed her eyes. She could not get enough of his wonderful touches. No one had ever moved her like him.
He took a sheet of the new reed parchment on his study desk next to their bed, which seemed to be better quality ever day from the Herald-Scribes who made it.
"Here is my idea to honor your world and mine and ours together, Kida. On my left shoulder I want an eight point sun symbol, since I come from the world of the sun. Two four point stars on top of each other signifying our union, surrounded by a multi-point star burst."
"You are an amazing, man, Milo. You are so wise, and so creative. It will be very handsome on you."
Then she said slyly and grinned, "And you want to honor our union, hmm? Well I have another idea. I want two more tattoos then, but only so that you will see them. I want smaller versions of your 'union sunburst' Milo, on my bosom and my bottom. The two places you like to touch the most."
It was Milo's turn to blush, and the pair laid back down. While they kissed again, he caressed her in those favorite places, and she laughed and half-heartedly swatted his hands. That was the end of any more bedroom conversation, until the next day when their tattoos were all applied just as they discussed, and they happily chattered about how great they looked. And how sore they were.
The marriage ceremony was incredibly beautiful and meaningful, and everyone realized the significance of it after the tens of thousands of years between her parents and her marriage. Milo and Kida recited their special vows to each other hand in hand, using a combination of modern and ancient vows in English and Atlantean. It was perfect. They looked very regal in their wedding attire. Milo had never seen her more pretty.
The citizens stood and cheered for a long time when the two kissed has husband and wife.
Even more impressive was her coronation as queen, with her beautiful feathered and gold-tipped crown which was a duplicate of her mother's. Many cried at the poignancy.
Milo was given the new royal title of "Regent Professor", and wore a splendid off shoulder blue tunic, which set off his sun tattoo that held so much meaning to them both.
The party and dancing went on for hours that first day, and would literally continue day and night for a week, but the Atlantean world let the couple alone each night by tradition.
Though they had been having relations for months, each of their wedding week nights were even more blissful and satisfying, because of their happiness at being married. The kingdom was ecstatic over the sweet young couple and the energy Milo brought to this ancient society from his modern world. The people were even happier knowing that someday there would be an heir, who would be the first time combination of the best of the races of modern man and Atlanteans. There was a future for their society. As long as they lived, no one lived forever.
Not all their days were happy ones.
The embers of the funeral pyre bearing King Nedakh's ashes into the sky over Atlantis had finally died, with Milo himself conducting the funeral ceremony in flawless Atlantean, just has he had discovered it etched in stone in yet another small temple bearing the ashes of a previous King. Kida stood by Milo's side the entire time, holding tight to his arm while her tears fell as he honored her father in the reverent manner only Milo could do. The royal family and friends noted how Milo comforted her as he went through the tragic Litany for the Dead. The people loved their adopted son and the way he cared so much for their Queen.
Immediately following the funeral, it was time for the he sky stone for King Nedakh to be sent aloft according to the rediscovered custom. It stood suspended in the temple courtyard, surrounded by the people of Atlantis, ready for the final blessings. Ever the perfectionist, Milo made one final adjustment in the stonework, pleased at seeing his work complete, but observing the sad face on Kida, he bowed in solemn reverence to the departed leader. Kida stepped forward and kissed her Crystal necklace to give the Heart of Atlantis, through her remaining bond with it, the sign that it was time for the symbol of the great life force that was her father to join the others in protection of their society high over the city proper.
As it rose steadily, Kida grabbed Milo by the arm and they quickly climbed together to the top of the highest Temple tower, holding hands as they always did, watching the sky stone rise above them to its place of honor.
The whirlwind of events that were set in place for the new world of Atlantis were all finished. They survived the treachery of the surface world and the might of the volcano. Kida and Milo were married, she was Queen, he was Regent, and the great leader King Nedakh was memorialized. Milo was committed his mission of educating the people to once again be proud of their heritage, but this time to learn the humility that had cost them so dearly in being nearly decimated and isolated from the world.
Kida and Milo could not be happier, and in so being, so were their people. As wise a ruler as King Nedakh had been, Kida ruled better still, with Milo by her side. The people really thought of them as King and Queen.
Over the years Milo lost track of time, and when his watch finally stopped working, he left it on his desk as a reminder of the past, and didn't regret not really knowing the time or date. He, like all the others, began to think of the passage of the seasons and the years, rather than minutes and hours and days.
The effects of the Crystal were as profound on him as they were on the Atlanteans. He noticed subtle things. His perennial neck problems that the good Doctor Joshua Sweet readjusted several times just disappeared.
More interesting was that Milo eventually discovered he didn't need his glasses to see anymore, and set them aside as a quaint keepsake to show his future children. Kida always liked him better without them, and centuries later, when his hair did finally go gray, it was hard to tell him from the original Atlanteans but for his pale skin.
He never stopped teaching the citizens, especially when there were children to teach - particularly his own children and grandchildren.
And until the very end he and Kida never lost their zest for one another, with the line that always embarrassed their children, "even old people need to have fun!"
The surface world never attacked again. Milo had kept the Shepherd's Journal in his possession, to prevent knowledge of Atlantis escaping again, which could lead another incursion with superior and deadly technology to the Atlanteans. It eventually disintegrated into dust. But they were visited peacefully from the surface. More than thirty five millennia after Milo arrived at Atlantis, he and Kida were surprised by several members of an organization called the Whitmore Society, a clandestine group established by Milo's old benefactor and his friends, which had for all the time since they left protected Atlantis from above. They remained in contact until it was 'the right time.'
Five thousand years after that first contact with the Whitmore Society, the Atlanteans emerged from their subterranean world into the surface world that they knew was ready to understand and accept peacefully all the power the Crystal offered the entire human race. It was a direct result of constant silent observance and aided by contacts with the Whitmore Society.
The first handshake with the leader of that new surface world 40,000 years into the future was King Kiltaka Nedakh-Thatch, accompanied by a very aged but elegant Queen Mother Kida, and a leathered Regent Professor Milo Thatch, who translated for them in perfect English.
Kiltaka was their eldest of three children of Milo and Kida. He had many features of his mother's face and her blue eyes, his dad's prominent nose. He was a delightful mix of the couple, with light tan complexion, and long auburn hair with tantalizing white streaks, tied back in a pony tail like most Atlantean men.
When at last Milo finally lost his battle with time some 50,000 years from the time he discovered Atlantis, it was not long after that Queen Kida followed him in death. There was no sadder time in Atlantis' history. It was said by historians that she could not bear to live without him.
And so, orbiting around the never-dying Crystal was the first and only sky stone engraved and glowing with the images of two cherished leaders – Queen Kida and Regent Professor Milo, the outsider who saved their world. It was often said across the centuries that while Milo was a royal and a citizen by decree, not by birth, he lived every day of his life as though the Crystal – the "Heart of Atlantis" - was in his heart.
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