Episode 62: September 5th

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We were all in the living room

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We were all in the living room. I wasn't really sure why. Cyan and Cole were working most days. Del had been sleeping a lot the last few days. Most of the time, I kept an eye on him. When I didn't, I was outside training or spending time in my hammock.

Knock-knock!

Cole, Cyan, and I jumped out of our skins. Del looked dazed, but he pushed himself up a bit. Honey meanwhile barked like dogs did.

The three of us exchanged glances before Cole got up to answer it.

Lo and behold! It was Arthur. Raymond hid behind his back. The poor kid looked pale and sweaty.

Arthur saw me right away. "Yo, Collin!"

I jumped off the couch. "I can't believe you're here!"

Cole raised an eyebrow but moved to let them in, anyway.

Arthur got a little red. "I don't mean to impose, but do you have a guest bedroom we could use for a little bit?"

"Of course!" I went toward the bedrooms. "It's really not a problem!"

Raymond followed me. I wasn't planning on telling them this, but I'd let him use my room. I didn't mind after everything the kid did for me in the base.

"You can use this." I rubbed the back of my neck. "It's a bit of a mess, but this should work."

"It does." His voice definitely had a rough edge to it. "Thanks, Collin..."

Honey came in and laid at the kid's feet.

I overheard this bit before I got back outside.

"Sorry about this... The kid's been pretty sick the last few weeks. I would've left him in his room to rest, but I don't trust one of my colleagues to leave him be if I'm not there."

"It really isn't a problem," Cole said. "We don't mind helping out if anyone asks."

Arthur whispered in my ear, "Did you really give the kid your room, son?"

I shrugged. "My brother and I don't get sick."

"Is there a reason you came all the way out here? It must be important if you're brought the boy with you."

"I come with information," Arthur said.

Cyan perked up. "Would you like something to drink?"

"Do you have any soda in a can?"

"Of course!" Cyan ran into the kitchen.

Arthur glanced at my brother and raised an eyebrow. "You alright over there, son?"

"Would everybody stop asking that?" Del shouted.

I was taken aback by my big brother's outburst, but not as much as Cole or Arthur. I'd almost woken up a few times last night. He must've had nightmares last night. He did seem more annoyed than exhausted today.

Cole peeled my brother off the couch. "Come on. Come lie down in my room."

"No! I wanna listen, too!"

I leaned against him. "It's alright, Del. Arthur won't try to trick me or anything. You need to rest, too."

Cole was stronger than I expected. He didn't seem to have a hard time leading Del away.

Arthur wiped sweat off his face. "I really am sorry about this..."

"Oh, it's fine!" Cyan came out with a tray filled with different sodas. "Cole and I have absolutely no problem sharing a room."

Arthur stared at her like she grew a second head.

"It's really not a problem!" I cracked a smile. "It's her boyfriend!"

Cyan got redder than a tomato. "Shut up!"

Cole came back out after this, so Arthur could tell us what he came to tell us now.

"September fifth," Arthur said.

"I'm sorry?" Cyan and Cole asked.

"Most of my colleagues will be leaving on September fifth to scout out the next world they want to target."

Cyan raised an eyebrow. "That's not a year-round endeavor?"

"It is, but this world is a serious candidate. They need to get it ready for the boss. It takes a lot of manpower to get it done."

"Will you be accompanying them?" Cole asked.

Arthur shook his head. "I'm of more use to the boss if I stay here. I'm actually terrible with navigating unfamiliar places."

My jaw dropped. And he could navigate that maze of a base?

Arthur flashed me a smile. "I've been here a few years."

"Why did you come to tell us this?" they asked.

Arthur met my gaze. "You must have been given the opportunity to go home after you got back to your friends, right, son? But you didn't take it? Because you felt you still had to work to do?"

I nodded. Arthur was right on the money.

"I'd like it if you could try to take out the boss. I'm not even sure I believe in his plan anymore."

Cyan raised an eyebrow. "Why did you believe in it before?"

"I had gotten displaced after my home world fell into turmoil. I spent several months to a year trying to survive on my own. That was when he found me."

"So, you felt you owed your life to him?" Cole asked.

Arthur nodded. "That changed when I met your friend. Before that, I hadn't actually met anyone who was impacted by the boss's work on the keys. That'd been my colleagues' responsibility up to that point."

"You changed your mind because of me?" I asked.

"Maybe it's also because of how you chose to give up your key, but you did prompt me to ask questions. I still don't know why he never sent you home. As far as I know, everyone else got sent home soon after their keys were taken."

Cyan's eyes were wide. "Does your boss even have a name?"

Arthur shrugged. "Calls himself Seth, I think. Don't know if he chose it for himself or not, though."

I found myself laughing. "If my brother was here, he would probably ask what kind of name is that?"

"The boss is actually a pretty unassuming guy."

"So, we have to take him out?" Cyan asked.

Arthur nodded. "His intentions might have been good, but I think they've spiraled out of control."

"Thank you for this," Cole said.

"No problem." Arthur got up. "I'll send you more details as we get closer to the day. Take care of yourselves."

"We will," they said.


***


Arthur came baring news! Thoughts on it? Theories? Predictions?

~Shino out!

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