Ch. 2.1 – Alex

“Ben!” Sara blurted in relief, throwing her arms around their bathrobe-wearing host and hugging him. Alex rubbed his eyes, then focused on their surroundings. Ben was a stunningly ordinary-looking man with shaggy brown hair and sleepy brown eyes — though he suspected the latter might have been the result of having just been woken up. The room they were in was rather more extraordinary. Red doors that were otherwise identical to the blue ones they’d escaped through were painted on the wall they’d emerged from. There were three tables which each had more magical accouterments than Smith’s workshop from Alex’s proto-webcomic. A bookshelf stood to one side with a library he would have given a major body part for just a few hours ago.

Another man, younger and somewhat fitter than Ben, walked into the room wearing a pair of boxers just as Sara kissed Ben. “Hey,” the newcomer objected wearily. Sara grinned and let Ben go. “Someone want to tell me what…” he looked at Alex and Molly and woke up instantly. “Ben, who’s the hot anime guy, and why’s the Irish amazon here?” Alex raised an eyebrow at the descriptions, but said nothing. I get the distinct impression we owe Ben our lives, at least. The least I can do is be a decent guest.

“Skeptic,” Ben replied simply. The younger man gasped. “Yeah.”

Alex glanced at the wall they’d emerged from with concern. “Can he track us? You know, magically?”

Ben chuckled. “The Skeptic? Nah, his power erased the connection as soon as you were gone. If we’re going to use that door again, I’ll have to re-Weave it. He’s new, isn’t he?” Ben added, grinning at Sara. Then he blinked, scratched the back of his neck, and looked Alex over in disbelief. “Wait, he’s new? Survived the Skeptic, Blazed himself that get-up, and he’s new?”

Sara nodded, letting go of Ben and stepping back. She looked around the room with what Alex felt was an appraising air. “I think I’m in love,” Ben quipped.

“I saw him first,” Sara retorted with a grin.

“Hey!” the guy in boxers objected more emphatically.

“Just teasing, Matt,” Ben said, returning to his companion and putting an arm around Matt’s waist reassuringly. “You’ve got to admit, though, he is cute.”

“How can you tell under all that armor?” Matt asked Ben, then turned to Alex with wide eyes. “Gods, who are you?”

Alex shrugged. “I’m still figuring that out myself.” He glanced at Sara, casually pointing a thumb at the couple. “They look like good guys to me.” Ben and Matt beamed twin smiles.

Sara sighed. “They are. That’s not the same as a whole good guy group to take on Gray Company or Havoc Absolute.”

“Now just a minute,” Ben said, instantly serious. “The Council Majestic may not be willing to tear the world down like the Havocs, but we’ve been protecting and enlightening the world for centuries.”

“Look, Ben, you saved our butts, so I’m not going to start with you again,” Sara replied evenly. “You know how I feel about the Four Allies. You’re all okay, but rebel heroes you’re not.”

Molly crossed her arms. “For a cynic, you have very high standards, my girl.”

“Okay, no offense,” Alex replied, forming a T with his hands, “but the new guy is lost here. I don’t mind taking the bus back to the Red Rock — assuming we’re even in the same county — but whether we do it here or at one of our homes, I’d really like the slightly-less-short version of what the heck is going on.”

“You may want to banish the armor before we take a bus,” Molly said dryly. Alex winced. “It is a bit eye-catching.”

“A bus would be…inconvenient for you,” Ben said, “and I don’t mind you three crashing down here for the night. I can send you to Sara’s place in the morning the same way I brought you here.” He glanced briefly at Sara, then back to Alex. “Besides, I think I’d like to give you a dissenting opinion on the Council.”

Sara shrugged. “Sure. He’s pretty quick on the uptake, and besides, his style is so not Council. I don’t think even you could get him in.”

“As long as you don’t mind me going back to sleep,” Matt added, kissing Ben on the cheek. “You all have fun debating the fate of the world. See you in the morning.” Ben nodded, and Matt headed upstairs, waving nonchalantly as he left.

“I’ll go put on a pot of coffee,” Ben said.

“I’ll try to take off this armor,” Alex replied dryly. The others chuckled.

Written by Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan was born in the Bronx, New York, giving him the right to root for the Yankees while making less than six figures. After a long, largely pleasant interregnum in suburban Connecticut, he moved to the Inland Empire, California to be with his wonderful wife and muse, a stepson, and a crazed feline. An occasionally too-avid player of and writer for tabletop roleplaying games, his other passion is metaphysics, which informs most of his fiction.

Comments are only enabled on News/Blog posts. Please log in as yourself or with username and password "guest" to comment.

?php else : // comments are closed ?
Stay up to date
Sign up to be notified of new chapters and other updates. You will need to reply to the subscription email to be added to the the list.
Recent News/Blog Posts
Tip Jar
Feedback is a great way to encourage the writer! If you'd like to give a more tangible from of appreciation:

Please note that PayPay keeps 2.9%+$0.30 per transaction, so keep that in mind when deciding how much to donate. And thanks!
Krypton Radio – it’s Sci-Fi for your Wi-Fi!
Epiguide - The World of Web Entertainment
Member of The Internet Defense League
AWSOM Powered