Oliver had his own motives, besides the obvious. Of course he was going along so that he and Aimee could be with Isabeth. The basics; but all of Grigori knew how she and Alan T bonded on her first round. Even thought she hadn't mentioned Alan since their fight for years ago and he's been digging into his job as Steward. Oliver already knew more about Isabeth than anyone else in Grigori, but he doubted if he was as close to her as Alan was. He was hoping that making this trip would fix that.
Isabeth was hoping that by repeating her past, she could renew the woman she once was. She would retrace her foot steps, leaving out a few lovers for the sake of what she had now, and try to tune into what she lost.
Catherine didn't bother hiding her motives. She made it painfully clear by interviewing every male ward at Castle Huntington. As if finding the perfect husband wold be as easy as her first stop. It was painfully awkward for everyone, and they were all glad when she left.
James only knew that he needed to be with them, he knew not why. It was almost as if his future depended on it.
The first leg of the journey was to take the ferry from Huntington Port up to Rosenbaum. The thought propelled ship called “The Watcher” was still run and operated by Captain O’Frighil. The good Captain either didn't realize or didn't care that his life had been extended by hundreds of years. He welcomed everyone aboard as he had done since the beginning.
The ferry was one oddity that Catherine was familiar with. Whenever Alan R needed to travel with his daughter, he did so in this manor. She barely rode the trails as Isabeth discovered when bringing her daughter home. And without a pendant, instant travel was out of Catherine's reach.
Thinking about their children and the powers they have, although limited, they did begin to worry about what would happen if the locals discovered what they really were. Over time a few have been let in on the secret, such as Rhian and her group of gypsies, Captain O’Frighil, and the random local spouses that have been taken and lost over the years. Concern brought the three Grigorians on board to an impromptu meeting on the deck of the ship.
“I'm for it,” James expressed after all the pros and cons were listed. “I think it's only fair that our children get to experience what they see their parents enjoying.”
“I agree that it's fair for them to use the magic they are born with,” Oliver voiced. “But as far as you giving them more, or teaching them to use natural magic like you did in the real world, I don't think it's a good idea.”
“Well, I wasn't going to give them more,” Isabeth insisted. “I had always dreamed of having eight children and teaching them as I was taught by my High Priestess. I don't know if you remember in the beginning when I'd talk about this stuff, I always said that everyone has the potential for magic and magical learning. That was one of my goals for this place and myself.”
“Yes, but didn't you intend it only for the Watchers and the wards. Not for the locals?” Oliver questioned.
“I don't know anymore,” Isabeth sighed. “There are still things about this place that are mysteries, even to myself. Some things I haven't or couldn't tell any of you. I honestly didn't believe that we could have children here, I thought we were frozen in time, like living dead. Then the married people started having children, and I thought well maybe it's only possible between Grigorians. Then people married locals and had children. I thought, or I should say hoped, that our offspring would be like mules; half horse and half donkey and completely sterile. But then they started having children, and they had children. You know that local who lives in Castle Huntington that kind of resembles our first Becky a little bit.”
The boys nodded.
“She is from Rhian. Rhian married John Noble, they had two daughters. The younger one married Keifer had a daughter and a son, their daughter married a local in the village of Szmanda. I don't know how many kids they had but one of them is betrothed to William. That's why she walks around the place like she owns it. She's got Becky's personality and attitude as well as her looks.”
“Brianna, that is Rhian Aludra's great-granddaughter?” James seemed dumbfounded. “So does she have powers?”
“I asked,” Isabeth answered. “No one in her family, had any powers. Rhian we know was a local, her daughter was a halfbreed...”
“Rude, there,” Oliver said trying to correct her manners.
Isabeth gave him a playful glare and went on. “The granddaughter was a quarter us. I think if she had married another ward that child would have had powers but since she married a local it kind of wiped out anything that was growing. Any children that the great-granddaughter and William have will only be about halfbreed level.”
“One of the things you have to do while we are running around Grigori is to interview all the children, and further decedents to see what is going on,” Oliver offered.
“I never thought of that, my love,” Isabeth mocked sarcastically.
“Mother,” Catherine called out coming from her cabin. “I just thought of something. You've never told me the story of your first time through the world. How will we know how to act if you don't tell the story.”
“First of all it won't be the same because we are not the same group she traveled with her first time,” Oliver corrected. “And I'm not sure it needs to be.”
“I think your mother and Emma have made up and almost tolerated each other now. Isabeth hasn't cut her in half in many years now,” James laughed as he recalled.
“No, I've found more entertaining ways of killing her,” Isabeth joked along.
Several days later Isabeth learned all too quickly that Catherine is just as literal, if not more so, than Isabeth is herself. Catherine entered Castle Rosenbaum, and without saying a word, pulled her sword and cut Emma in half the short way.
Everyone froze, staring as the two halves of the body slowly fading away to return next year. People looked nervously from mother to daughter and back. Isabeth looked very taken back as if she she didn't know what to do or say. Her lips would go from pinched shut to mouthing silent words to just hanging open, then the process would repeat.
“There, Mother,” Catherine said as normal as smiling. “Now you can retrace your footsteps exactly as you did the first year.”
“I didn't actually kill her the first year, just threatened to.” Isabeth picked up her pendant and held it to her mouth. “Al...”
“Call my father here and I'll cut him in half too,” Catherine threatened.
“Alan Cummings, how is the weather in Scotland?”
“This time of year, we're frozen solid,” he answered.
“Good to hear it,” Isabeth closed the connection and swallowed hard as she cautiously watched her daughter. The wards of Castle Rosenbaum quickly began to scatter, but Isabeth was quick to catch some of them. “Lillard, Kira, Jada, Cameron, and Ami, I need to speak with you. The rest of you be around so that Catherine can interview you. Don't worry, I'm disarming her before I let her loose in the castle.”
As Isabeth said it, the sword Catherine held turned to rust and fell to red dust on the floor.
“My father gave me that,” she pouted.
“Really. Write him and tell him what you did and I'll fix it,” Isabeth challenged with a half grin.
Isabeth took Jada by the arm and lead her away, the other four followed. “I need to know if you've ever noticed any of your children possessing powers like our, even if it was very small?”
“Yes,” Jada began seeming to think about it. “Will's power, we call it The Uncountable Chants of Eagle Calling, really he can call any bird to him; was passed down to our first son in a modified form. He was born five years into this world and he learned to call the local bird species before he could speak Galeck.”
“I know you've had about ten children since we've been here. Anything else happen?”
“Yes. My power, The Ten Marvelous Spells of Venom...”
“What is with these weird names?” Isabeth interrupted. “Do you all have them?”
“I have the The One Thousand Exorcisms of Fish Slaying,” Kira said proudly.
“The Greater Spell of the Unholy Fish,” Ami answered. “Yumi's is Glamor of Kill Fish. We were having a contest. I won.”
“Let me guess,” Isabeth said smiling. “It had to do with catching the most fish.”
“Yes,” the girls said together.
“Do I even want to know yours,” Isabeth said to Lillard.
“Probably not,” he answered. “But I would like my hug. I was closing in for it when that girl went crazy.”
“It's okay battle brother, I got her under control,” Isabeth promised giving him his request. “Jada you were saying.”
“I can become a Naga. The venom I produce becomes a potion that casts one of ten spells. I never know which one I will get when I milk it, but the color tells me what it does. Both of our sons had some form of bird calling, all eight of our daughters would produce one of my venom's when they would kiss a lover.”
“I wonder if it's always passed from mother to daughter and from father to son? Has anyone else here had children?”
“No,” Cameron spoke. “Mostly we just take lovers from the village. None of them have become pregnant or made any of us pregnant. The only other married woman here is Kathy. She married a local and moved into the village with him. But he died more than twenty years ago.”
“Thanks, Jada. You can go. The rest of you, I have a request. I want to thank you guys first. I would like to thank all the people who have helped get me to this point, but one castle at a time. You and a handful of others around Grigori keep me, well, me. I very much appreciate and love all of you. You have never changed from day one and whenever I'm around you I feel like the old me. I would like to start up my real teaching, a magical school of sorts and I'd like you guys to help me.”
“How?” Cameron asked. “We are not exactly the best spell casters in any sense.”
“For starters I could practice my teaching on you. Make you the best of the best, then let you loose in your own countries to spread the teachings,” Isabeth tried.
“I have always been up for anything you came up with, Little One,” Lillard said stealing another hug from his friend. “I've got your back.”
“Everyone think about it and let me know at the end of August by meeting me in Spain as I leave Castle Tudyk.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Isabeth wandered through the castle trying to remember what it was like the first time. All the wonderful details that Rukito had put into her masterpiece. The liquid gold and silver that ran through the walls and floors still swirled unused creating a beauty that was unmatched. Even though she clearly knew the way with her eyes closed, Isabeth asked for directions to the library. Slowly the swirling liquid metals moved showing her the way. She smiled and followed them trying hard not to lead herself. Inside the library, as if he'd planned it, because he had, was Michael R.
“Shall we?” he asked with a sly smile on his face.
“Fuck off,” Isabeth tried to come across as aloof and carefree. What Michael heard was rude and snide.
“Then why linger here? If you are unwilling to be the real Little One, the one we all met two hundred years ago, why bother trying to recapture any of her. You are a fake, you will never be as good as her, you are just a second rate copy.”
Michael's mouth was curled in a tighter scowl than he had ever possessed. His face was sore.
"Go on then," Isabeth faintly whispered, hissed even, barely audible but he had been listening, daring her to speak. He surely would take her this time. It would be easy. Just a flick of tongue on that special spot of her neck, a glow of green and satisfaction as his staff penetrated her being. Yes, it would be easy.
Eyes redder than the fires of hell stared back at him. Empty, hollow, unfeeling. As if the blood of all those she'd killed touched these great orbs, her eyes reflecting her soul. Michael raised his hand to wave her off. This had gone far enough, but suddenly that face, that small face which possessed an odd black beauty as severe as a winter's night, changed. The dramatic pout that had arrested her lips moments ago was replaced with a enticing smile that sent goosebumps along Michael's skin. His pulse quickened, thudding against his chest and temples. He knew that he was about to strike out again, but suddenly it seemed like he had to at least try.
What piece of the woman that once was Little One was still alive in the woman who stood before him, he knew not. Nor did he know what exactly he was expecting Little One to do, but he knew that of all the people in this whole extraordinary world, she was his favorite. If he took her, he would be essentially destroying everything she had worked so hard to create. Weather he liked the new Little One or not, he couldn't do that to her. He shuddered, but not noticeably. Giving her the satisfaction was enough to make him ill. He lowered his hand, which ignited further his frustration.
His look would have killed her, if looks possessed that power. It was all he could do to scowl at her. He was frustrated with himself, for he knew he was letting her manipulate him. Why or how she was so smart was a mystery to him, but she must be toying with him. She loved it. Every moment of his anger, every grunt, sigh, scowl and stomp got into her and tickled that maniacal part of her soul that enjoyed other people's misery.
But what about her own misery? Michael could not take the smile any longer. He could not take the low giggles and the swaying movements as she dug up his anger and forced it to fight her. It was not so much the rage that troubled him, but the fact that this rage was something he craved, looked for even, and he secretly enjoyed the torture. His blood boiled with this rage that tingled and burned through his body, but was oddly concentrated in his lower region. He looked at her face, twisted in that devious smile. She was inviting him.
He stepped forward, grabbed hold of her shoulders firmly. She would not rule over him. He closed in for the kiss and Isabeth flew from his fingers, slamming into the draped windows behind her. Her face changed slightly, but she did not look intimidated. She stood straighter, the corners of her mouth still curled in a smile. Michael would surely wipe the smile from her face. He didn't want her to be smiling. He wanted to see her submit for once, feel himself manipulating her. He walked towards her slowly, knowing she couldn't back away.
"Taking care of the job with your bare hands, Michael?" Isabeth cooed, flashing him a challenging glance.
Michael did not reply, but kept advancing towards her until he had her craning her neck to look up at him. He was inches from her, her almond eyes staring up at him threateningly. He briefly saw her expression falter, her lips pouting and her eyebrows turning upwards. Then she was looking at his chest, the level at which her eyes were to him. He saw lust in those eyes. He saw not only her desire for pleasure and satisfaction, but her desire to find herself once again. She was deranged, he knew, and it only turned him on more. Was he deranged too?
He wouldn't make it so easy though. She always put on this guise. If she wanted to play the game, he would too. Only tonight, he would make it worth it. Isabeth wasn't out of control yet. He decided to take it upon himself to kill the tame her and set the wild woman free on Grigori once more. She would lead him no longer. To assert his point, he raised his hand to her throat and closed his fingers around it. If there were any last traces of a smile on her face, they completely washed away as the tip of Michael's tongue touched the soft, pale skin of her neck. She stood stiffly against the window, her chest rising and falling as she breathed. He wondered if she really was scared. He assumed not, or that if she was, she was turned on by the sensation.
Seeing her under his power gave him a strange sensation. It was purely sexual, but more concentrated than he'd ever felt before. Something visceral, animalistic bloomed inside him, and before he knew it, his hands were gripping Isabeth's wrists and pinning them to the window above her head. She grunted lightly in surprise, but her gaze was hungry.
"Yes Little One," Michael hissed. "I'll take care of it."
He pressed his lips to hers before she could reply. Her mouth trembled under his. He couldn't tell if she was surprised, repulsed, or excited, but had a feeling it was a bit of all three. He moved a hand to her chin, holding her jaw strongly as he kissed her. She tried to mumble something, but he was holding her mouth too tightly. Finally he released her.
"Who do you think you are!?" Isabeth screamed loudly, her eyes burning.
He had anticipated her reaction. "Silence," He said firmly, again pressing her against the window with his body.
She looked annoyed, but he didn't care. Using his other hand, he lifted her dress. She looked furious, but did not move. He knew her game. He let his eyes fall to her chest, his first hand sliding slowly over her breasts.
"You're a devil of a man, Michael," Isabeth whispered. She might as well have told him he was the greatest man in all of Grigori, since her tone of voice was far from negative. He could feel her shudder under his hands, her small body so soft against his palms. She slouched against the window as he touched her. He felt his desire growing beneath his pants. Soon she would feel it too.
He moved his face to her soft neck again, tilting her head forcefully to the side as his nose stroked her skin. A faint tinge of sweat mixed with the sweet smell of her feminine skin tingled in Michael's nose. The tip of his tongue gently touched her jaw line. Her breathing was soft and shallow, and he heard her whimper lightly as his kisses moved back to her mouth. He saw her hands twitch at her sides, and knew she wanted to hold his head, wrap her arms around him, embrace him. But he would not indulge the desire for affection. This was not about affection.
Then suddenly, her hands moved quickly to his chest, and he was shoved back from her. Before he realized what had happened, he was on the ground, rolling to the side to recover his breathing. She was quicker, and ran at him. What was she doing? Before he could think, she swung her foot and kicked him hard in the gut.
He was instantly stilled, as if a warm, impenetrable blanket were wrapped around him. His eyes, wide open, stared straight at the ceiling, until her fist came down in his face obstructing his vision. He opened his eyes to see her dark curls hung down over him as she lowered herself to his level. She moved a finger to his lower lip, her fingernail running over his mouth. Through the pain he could still take in the changes, the dead, white, stick straight hair that appeared after Alan T jumped off the top of Castle Huntington the first year had healed. Isabeth's raven black curly hair was back.
"Dear Michael," she whispered in a mocking tone, tsking. "Did you honestly think it would be that easy?"
She then leaned forward and kissed him simply, like a child might kiss a parent, and cackled as she stood. He could hear her heels clicking on the stone floor as she walked away from him. She giggled one last time as she opened the creaking door, and then there was silence.
Michael realized then, and only then, that he should have kept his mouth shut in the first place, and that Isabeth had won, again. She always knew the perfect torture. And he knew she was back.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
“Little One,” Pauly called out to her while running down the hall. “Why am I being interview to be Catherine's husband?”
Isabeth and Rukito laughed.
“Doesn't that mean she has good taste?” Rukito asked.
Pauly was taken back for a second, then recovered. “Well, yes. But I'm not interested. If I was I would have taken a bride long before now.”
“Then tell her that,” Isabeth suggested.
“I did, but...” Pauly paused as a few other men joined the conversation.
The wards of Castle Rosenbaum seem unsure of themselves and nervous. Robin, Michael G, and Tony shifted around waiting for the rest to be said.
“She didn't really give a comforting feeling with her first impression,” Michael G helped.
“I never had a teenager before,” Isabeth half wined. “My daughter from the real world only made it to four before we came here. I keep saying I have it under control but I'm starting to worry. Did any of you have teenage daughters?”
“It's only going to get worse,” Robin comforted.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
They weren't sure what was going on, but they were drawn to the circle of locals in the barley field. As Maggie and Thora neared they saw what looked like Isabeth sparing with air in the field. To the locals this would look just like someone practicing their sword work if it wasn't for a few oddities. Such as, she was a woman and most women of the time did not play with swords. But the biggest attention grabber was the sound of metal on metal when her sword made contact with the unseen one. Not to mention the disembodied voice that was responding to her raving rant.
“Well I did rip almost two hundred people from there homes and families to help me make a perfect world,” reminded herself viciously.
“There is no such thing as a perfect world,” Matthew Lillard's voice said back.
“Well there could be, there should be,” she shouted at the sky while ducking an attack only she could see. “Love is the greatest thing in creation, love could make the world perfect. Love should be shared, and given out freely when ever and where ever it is felt.”
“You talk of love while you practice for war. How strange.”
Isabeth stopped so suddenly that it startled Matthew into dropping his spell and he became visible again as he stumbled to stop from running into her. Maggie acted quickly and threw her power on the locals transporting everyone who'd witnessed Matthew's magical appearance to Norway. When she looked back at the two friends, Matthew was hugging Isabeth close.
“It’s strange, Battle Brother,” came Isabeth's muffled voice from Matthew's shoulder. “I can go to war and splatter human bodies all across the landscape, but I cannot, in anyway, ask another for love.”
“You never have to ask for mine, Little One,” Matthew Vowed. “You are my best chick friend in this or any world.”
Maggie was so moved by Matthew's genuinely loving disposition that she almost changed her mind about scolding them. But since he was always this loving to everyone in Grigori, she was used to it and took them both by the scruff.
“What is wrong with you?” Maggie yelled. “Those were some of our best farmers and now they are gone because of your carelessness.”
“What are you talking about?” Matthew demanded.
“You had an audience,” Thora helped. “Lady Maggie had to send them to Norway with all the others who've seen you do things we're not supposed to be able to do.”
“Why do you insist on preforming magic in front of the locals. I thought that once you claimed Forbidden Exorcism of Magic and Seeing that it would stop. But it isn't working. They still see you come in and out of invisibility.”
“Forbidden Exorcism of Magic and Seeing? What is it with you Rosenbaums and your insistance on naming your personal spell,” Isabeth grumbled pulling herself free from Maggie. “What is yours, Hippity Hoppity To Norway?”
“The Deathly Exorcism of the Cunning Queen,” Maggie answered.
“You don't kill them do you?” Isabeth asked.
“I don't think so. No one's ever come back from Norway so I don't know.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Isabeth knew that if she could influence the belief in the most important people in America and Europe to know this as truth than it would filter down into the masses and peace through out the world was not an impossibility. If it could be done with fashion why not with morals.
Like children are the most important thing we can do for ourselves and for the world. If they were taught form birth that race didn’t exist, and religion was a personal issues that should be discussed only for the sake of knowing what not to say around your friends so as not to offend them. That religion should never be advertised or pushed down the throats of others who already have a religion, or chose not to have one at all.
Isabeth believed that gender only means more variety in partners, and regardless of what a person has between there legs they are exactly as important, intelligent, strong, and has the same right to existence as you.
She believes that money doesn’t make a person better, in fact rich people are usually less of a person that the poor are. If you have a lot of money you should give it out to those you don’t have it. Isabeth believed that you don’t stop playing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop playing. And no one is too old or too young for a hug. Children should be treated as gifts and the elderly should be treated as great scholars who have something to teach us. She believed that a person should never stop learning and seeking knowledge. And that being a little crazy is essential to a long and happy life.
Isabeth hoped to instill these beliefs and ideas into the minds and hearts of every person in her world. But if she convinced only one person, she would be satisfied. But who would be her first.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Cameron Diaz, the radiant talent, as Isabeth saw Cameron was a perfect choice. She had a hero's courage and a sense of purpose, driven on by strong convictions and the need to persuade others, an ability to inspire others to action. If Isabeth could convince Cameron what was right and wrong in the world, then her chore of helping the rest to see would be cut in half. Cameron would be an exceptional extension of herself. They got along better than almost any other at Castle Rosenbaum.
Cameron could see the necessity for profound changes. However, she didn't like to be bothered by trivial or meaningless events. She defiantly excelled when unsupervised and could follow her own intuition. But damn did she need to learn patience. Isabeth's mind when up and down as she not so deceptively followed Cameron around the castle.
“It may be sometime before others recognize the truth that you are expressing,” Isabeth said out of the blue. Cameron had found a quiet place to sit and just be at one of the tables in the dining hall. Isabeth had sat across from her and was laying the upper half of her body on the table staring at Cameron.
“I'm sorry?” Cameron asked unsure. A small smile sat on the corner of her mouth. “Does this have something to do with why you've been tailing me all day?”
“But your strongly held beliefs in yourself and your cause may give others the impression you are too full of yourself,” Isabeth went on as if no question had been posed. “I don't think that feeling will last long though. See, your gift is your natural radiance that brings cheer and warmth to otherwise dreary lives. I think everyone will see it quickly enough.”
“Thank you,” Cameron chuckled. “I think.”
“I want you to be one of my students,” Isabeth suggested. “I want you to be one of my firsts.”
“But you have many other, those you've been teaching for years? How could I even come close to being a first?”
“I have taught other, yes. But they were just students. I want you to be a teacher. Say you'll meet me in August. Please.”
Cameron leaned forward across the table and took Isabeth's hands. “I had already planned on doing just that.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *
It was past midnight, but just barely. Isabeth couldn't sleep and was out walking the fields behind Castle Rosenbaum. The last person she ever expected to see, after all was said and done, after all these years, was Alan T.
But as the clouds moved, there he stood. It was as if he was waiting for her to show up at a planned meeting. He was dressed like a local farmer and even wore a straw hat that he took off as Isabeth approached.
For a brief moment they simply stood and stared at one another. Then he spoke. “What are you doing?”
“You will have to be more specific that that,” Isabeth said softly.
“No one, except Vince, knows better than I what you went through that first year.” Alan was showing the utmost care with the choosing of his words. His concern for her was showing against both their wills. “The fear, the doubt, the passion, the pain. Remember it all in your dreams at night, but don't relive it. As much as it pains me to admit it, you have a real man, a good man. Please remember how that first year ended. Remember and then chose to forget her.”
“Alan, do you want to know what I remember about my first year here,” Isabeth voice shook a little. “I remember you. I remember finding a love that was meant to be, the kind of love that lasts forever. I brought you here for me, I needed you here with me from the very first night until the end of time. We did everything I had ever dreamed of; had worldly adventures both good and bad, we won wars with monsters and each other; it was just you and me everywhere I went. And then something shifted. You changed. I changed.”
Alan tried to say something but Isabeth put her hand on his mouth. “You're always on my mind, in my heart, In my soul, and you always will be. I gave myself some very good advice that first morning before you all appeared here frightened and confused. Somehow I let myself forget it. But I am choosing to live that advice once again, and I give it to you to my eternal love. Stop looking for the meaning of life and just live it. Please take those words to heart, stop looking for the meaning of life and just live.”
Isabeth started to walk away when Alan called out. “He's not me.”
“What does that mean?” Isabeth asked not turning to look back at him.
“There are some things we have in common; you for example, you're the meaning in my life, his life too even if he doesn't know it yet. I can't feel anything when you're not around, but then when you are I feel everything so intensely that I don't know how to handle it. I want to have you near me all the time when we're together, then when we're apart I just want to have you hear me say that no one needs you, no one wants you. And then I get up and move on and get better each time and hate you less each time. But I've had two hundred years of practice, not to mention the thirty extra years of the real world I experience I had before coming here.”
Alan paused for a moment as Isabeth bowed her head. He hoped she would look at him so he could make sure it wasn't out of defeat. “The more that I watch you and him, the more it's plain to see that the two of you are so in love when you're together. Are you still as much in love when you're apart? Can he handle what comes next, will he be strong enough to fight you for the sake of you. Can he see you for what you really are and say 'Damn it SH, I love you and no matter how many times you fuck up I will always love you.' Can he do it? Is he strong enough to handle your demons. Because I had to die to be that strong.”
Alan walked up behind Isabeth and wrapped his arms around her. “You can give me all the advice about life that you want to. All I need to know about the meaning of life is that life doesn't mean shit without you.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *
“I wish you didn’t have to go so soon,” Rukito said giving her friends a hug good by.
The two girls hugged again tighter as Oliver approached them giving a little laugh. “I feel like I should be jealous but when you’re in female form I just can’t bring myself to it.”
“Did you tell him to say that?” Rukito joked changing back into a man.
“No, not one word.” Isabeth still hesitated.
“What did I say?” Oliver joked.
The Watchers laughed together.
“Word for word the exact same thing Alan Tudyk did the first time we met,” Rukito answered.
“Every path has a puddle,” Isabeth said nonchalantly.
“And is this one of those times?” he asked with a smile.
“No actually that is what Little One said at that time,” Rukito explained and Isabeth gave Oliver a big grin.
“See,” she said with smugness. “I am retracing my foot steps.”
“Okay, lets go.” Oliver grunted not sure if what she was doing was a good thing or not.
Isabeth reached out with one hand and caressed Oliver's cheek lovingly. “Someday you’ll understand.”
“I understand more than you think,” he said as he tuned from her and walked up the gangway onto the boat.
“Do you think we should warn him before we get to Castle Simpson,” James whispered coming up behind her.
“Why,” Isabeth glared at her forced duplicate. “It didn't do no good when I warned the first fool I traveled with what was coming. Will it really do any good this time?”