So we were all gathered in my living room—my parents, Miles's parents, Amy's parents (who were there for both her and Nellie at that moment), Eliza's parents, John's and Scarlet's parents, Damon's parents—who were there for moral support, according to Damon—and of course all of us. I cleared my throat.
"You're all wondering why we disappeared, then came back all banged up. You're wanting answers. I was voted to be the one to give them—thanks a lot, guys—so that's why we're all here. I don't know how to start except from the beginning. There are parts I don't know, so guys, if you could fill in on my gaps, that would be great." And so I told the story, from start to finish. They did add in their own details, but it was mainly me.
"And so . . . the ones who were fighting on the ARK . . . that was us. I know some of you are frightened for us—after all, we're your kids, and you don't want us hurt. But we're not doing it for some rush, or to get glory. We're doing it because it's the right thing, and isn't that what you taught us to do? We can't let ourselves stand by when things like Joe Iblis happen. We can't let people get hurt when we stop it. And we know it's dangerous—we've just beaten a giant lizard twice that was either going to eat us or crush us when it crashed into the Earth. We aren't going to give up on this—these powers were given to us for a reason. I'm going to be a hero for the sake of everyone on Earth, and I think I speak for all of us that this is something that we have to do," I said. My mom was teary-eyed.
"Don't leave us again, honey," she pleaded. I knew better than to say yes.
"I won't make a promise I can't keep, but no matter how many times I'm gone, Mom, I will always, always come back." She smiled and wiped away her tears. I noticed everyone was comforting their parents as well. My dad grinned at me this time.
"I'm proud of you. You're my little hero, son," he said, ruffling my hair.
"Dad," I complained, fixing it.
"You all have worked so hard. You can all have a sleepover at our home to celebrate your victory," said Scarlet's mom, and I let my mouth gape open wide. Scarlet had a huge, mansion-like house. I'd never actually been inside.
We all went over that night and watched movies, played games, and talked a lot. Soon enough it was dark outside. I was sure Nellie needed a bedtime story when she looked longingly at the books on the shelf. The others were doing random stuff around the room, from games, to reading, to listening to their iPods.
"Hey, Nellie, you want to hear a story?" I asked.
"Is it a fairy tale?" she asked.
"Something like that, yeah. Except that it really happened, just recently," I said. The rest of them got quiet. I chuckled.
"Have you ever heard the story of King Arthur?"
"Sort of. What's it like?"
"Well, this is the story that came after he became a king. This is the story of the Black Knight . . ."
"I'll it to you, Nell," I said, "And the best part of it is that it happened for real." The others looked at me like I was insane. But I just smiled.
"Does it have a happy ending?" she asked.
"Yes, it does. Now, it starts with a kingdom. A wizard girl was running away from the castle through a field. It was dark and cloudy. A king in black armor, riding a dark horse, was galloping after her. He took his scabbard—that's the thing that holds a sword on his belt—and waved it through the air. It was like it cut through, and dark creatures began crawling and flying out of the hole it made. The wizard girl clutched her staff, scared. Then she began to sing her spell."
"Sing?" asked Damon, giving me a sideways look. Now they were all listening. I smirked.
"Yes, sing. It made the spell more powerful than if she spoke it. 'Ifaras zaras yezaras . . . Ifaris zaris yezarik . . . Oh, brave knight, swift as the wind! Heed my call!' She would have reminded you of Elaine. A beam of blue light shot into the sky, and someone came falling through it. It was a boy with blue hair, red shoes, and a blue and white outfit . . ."
"It was you!" said Nellie, giggling. Damon rolled his eyes. I nodded.
"It was me."
"Well, I landed flat on my face in the dirt to tell the truth," I chuckled.
"But I got up and looked around at the monsters. It was easy enough to see that they were evil and the girl needed help. So I ran right through them—literally! They went up in smoke when I hit them hard enough, and so I stopped by her. She looked pretty surprised, to say the least. Then I went after the king on the horse—but she grabbed me by the arm, pulled me back, and teleported us away in a magic wind. Now, I wasn't there, but I was later told what happened when I left.
"There were three people on the cliff, watching. The king rode up to them. He ordered them to spread out and find the wizard and I, and to slay us on sight. They nodded and he rode off. One of the knights was unsure—'she is the royal wizard, after all'—but the one who seemed to be in charge argued that the king's orders were absolute. The third knight pondered that the king had changed and was worried about the kingdom. They all spread out, following their king's orders.
"Back to Merlina and I. We were walking in a distant woods, and she explained to me that we were in the land ruled by King Arthur—but the king had been bewitched by the scabbard that granted immortality to whoever held it, and that he was summoning the Knights of the Underworld, who were those monsters I'd fought earlier. She had summoned me to help defeat him. There was a sacred sword in the misty lake ruled by Nimue, the lady of the lake—she's a bit like a princess, Nellie, except she can do magic—and I didn't bother to hear the rest of the explanation about the sword because I had a funny feeling that I knew about it. She stopped me long enough to give me a fake sword to practice with, and then I found it sticking out of the rock. She spoke before I pulled it out, though.
"'You do realize that if you do this, you'll be known as the blackest of knights, the slayer of kings, a villain for all centuries to come,' she said. I told her that I guessed I couldn't be a hero all the time—I'd be able to live with it. Well, I pulled out the sword—that thing was heavy!—and looked at it. As far as swords go, it was kind of shabby. Then it talked, and—"
"The sword talked?" asked Scarlet, frowning, "Swords don't talk. This sounds more and more like a cartoon."
"I'm getting to it! Yes, the sword talked. A lot. Too much. Okay, so I noticed that there was a sort of a face on the sword near the base of the blade. It was glaring at me. 'This is the one? Why, he's only a knave!' He said in a deep voice with an accent, which was a little thicker than Merlina's. I guess you could say I was annoyed from the start. I got some sword practice, but had to visit a very young blacksmith with blonde hair to sharpen the sword. He was surprised to meet a talking sword, and was introduced to it. The sword's name was Caliburn, and the blacksmith said that the name sounded familiar.
"I took Caliburn through the woods and began cutting down monsters on my way. We had to get to the Lady of the Lake to ask her what to do. However, I ran into someone on the way.
"'Halt!' a familiar voice yelled. I turned and there was a tan guy in black armor with white gauntlets and boots, and though his helmet covered most of his face, I could recognize the red and black spikes anywhere, even if one of those spikes was part of the helmet.
"'Shadow?' I asked. He scowled.
"'I am Lancelot, Knight of the Round Table. I am ordered to slay you, apprentice knight, enemy to my king,' he said, raising his sword, 'what is your name?'
"Now, I wasn't going to let Caliburn answer, so I spoke quickly. 'I'm Sonic, Sonic the Hedgehog,' I said, raising my sword. 'Are you sure you don't want to run?' asked Lancelot. I stood my ground. Then he growled and we started to fight."
"This Lancelot seems familiar," said Scarlet, chuckling. I had been doing an imitation of Damon's voice when I spoke as Lancelot, and he scowled more and more at me every time I did it.
"How about we reenact the battle with Sonic and Lancelot," he challenged, picking up a red lightsaber that was apparently Scarlet's little brother's. I grabbed the blue one.
"Be my guest," I said, and we battled. Nellie giggled the entire time. Then we got a knock on the door. It was Elaine, who had called around and wanted to join us.
"I was just telling Nellie a very involved bedtime story," I said, putting down the toy. Damon turned red and put his down.
"Please continue. Am I in this story?" she asked.
"Sort of. There's a singing wizard named Merlina in it. It's about Sonic and the Black Knight," said Amy.
"Well, then, I have to see the battle between Sonic and Lancelot. Continue, Eric and Damon," she smirked.
"Okay, but how did you know that's what part we were at?" asked Damon. She blushed.
"I . . . well . . ."