The Unicorn Club: Part 4 - Another Part of the Job Description

The phone rang. For the first time since I had changed to unicorn, I couldn't tell who was on the other end. Worried, I ran in to Mom's bedroom, and picked up the receiver.

"Hello?"

"I seek the one known as Brian of Trent," a deep, gravely voice said from the other end.

"And who should I say is calling?"

I heard another voice in the background. "I am his father," said the first voice.

I could see the speaker now, and I shuddered. The creature looked for all the world like a six foot flounder wearing a gray uniform. "You mean that Brian is half-human, and half alien fish?"

Someone laughed, and I knew the voice now. "No, I am his father. Tell Brian of Trent that I will meet him on the next rotation after the learning...." After a pause, the creature said, "The time period called tomorrow after school."

"Okay," I said and hung up the phone.

The Unicorn Club
Part Four - Another Part of the Job Dewcription
 
by Andy Hollis

 
I stood in front of my mirror and stared. The bikini fit. I had never tried one on before, but Mom insisted, and she was right. I looked great. A part of me still didn't feel right, looking like a pin up girl, but the rest of me, did.

I was doing this for Mom, after all, not me, I told myself over and over. But still, I felt like I was advertising for boys.

The phone rang. For the first time since I had changed to unicorn, I couldn't tell who was on the other end. Worried, I ran in to Mom's bedroom, and picked up the receiver.

"Hello?"

"I seek the one known as Brian of Trent," a deep, gravely voice said from the other end.

"And who should I say is calling?"

I heard another voice in the background. "I am his father," said the first voice.

I could see the speaker now, and I shuddered. The creature looked for all the world like a six foot flounder wearing a gray uniform. "You mean that Brian is half-human, and half alien fish?"

Someone laughed, and I knew the voice now. "No, I am his father. Tell Brian of Trent that I will meet him on the next rotation after the learning...." After a pause, the creature said, "The time period called tomorrow after school."

"Okay," I said and hung up the phone.

Two seconds later, I stood in an alleyway somewhere in Glengarion. I changed to my boy self, kind of gangly and awkward now that I was fourteen, but he had asked for Brian. I walked down the alley only to have a dozen rats get in the way."

"Where do you think you're going, little boy," one of them said to me.

"Guess what, guys, it's not your lucky day. I'm the exterminator, and if you don't get out of the way in five seconds, you will be earthworms."

Fifty more rats seethed into the street the support the first dozen. "Let's take the exterminator apart," the first rat said.

A flock of robins landed on the street in front of me. I snapped my fingers, and all of the rats turned into worms. The birds made quick work of them, but some did find hiding places.

"Thanks, guys," I told the birds.

"Any time, unicorn," the birds sang back and took off.

I walked back through the alley, then had to look up as I felt something evil, and disgusting coming in, fast. I saw a black speck dropping right at me. The speck grew larger, and I saw what it was. I put up all the shields I could.

The harpy let loose, with a bomb of excrement. I thew it back at her, until all of her feathers were covered with the filth. She fell the rest of the way.

I stood there, watching as the creature smoldered. "I had no quarrel with you, ancient one. Why the lovely greeting?"

"Those rats were my agents," the creature said.

"Well, you win some, lose some. Save a few rats, or fight with the unicorn. Not a good choice."

"I am an immortal, unicorn. You dare fight me?" she said, and tried to stand up.

"Do you want to spend the rest of eternity as an earthworm with your agents?"

She took off, awkwardly, but she managed to fly. I watched her until I knew she wouldn't try anything else.

I found the room with the fish, turned invisible, and walked inside.

Charlie, the demon, sat on a cot, tied up, and wrapped in chains. The flounder shook the telephone receiver.

"Why do I not hear her?"

Charlie sighed. "She has broken the transmission."

"Our fleet draws closer to this world, and I must present the being, known as Brian of Trent, to my lord and master.

"I tell you again, you do not want to do that. Brian of Trent is one of the more powerful creatures in this part of the galaxy. Do not give him reason to destroy your fleet. Tell your lord and master that it is too dangerous. You need to leave this galaxy, and now."

The fish started pacing. "Our fleet has spent thousands of generations traveling from our galaxy to this one. In all of that time, the only being greater than our fleet we have found is the Destroyer. He requires Brian of Trent, and we will deliver this creature to Him."

The fish stood taller than I did, by at least a foot. It had a flat head, with gray, tough skin, and eyes that moved from one side of the head to the other depending on the field of vision it needed. The body was covered with a gray suit, but it stood on three points. Two, elongated back fins, and a tail gave it balance.

It moved slowly across the room. "Do you think the female will tell Brian of Trent to be ready?"

I dropped the spell, and said, "Yes, she did. I am Brian of Trent." With a thought, I released Charlie from his bonds. "This is my demon, and if anyone is going to bind him, it will be me. So, Darth Flounder, you are my father?"

The fish pulled what might have been a weapon from a pocket in it's suit. "I am...." he said, and said a long sting of consonants with a few vowels. "You will come with me to see the lord and master of the fleet that is now approaching this world.

With a snap of my fingers, I made the object in his fin, or whatever, crumble into dust. "Let's see this fleet of yours."

A large screen appeared in the middle of the room. The picture turned on and searched the star fields until I did spot a large field of bright dots, moving. I focused in on the fleet. "Whoa, those ships are really cool, Gortex, for short...." Charlie laughed. "Why me?"

"The Destroyer wishes it so. We will present you to the Destroyer for some of it's vast energy, and then return to destroy this world, and your home world while we are at it. We will then move to capture this end of your galaxy, while the Destroyer works on the other."

"You heard him," I told Charlie. "He's threatened the worlds of this galaxy and I have to do my job. I will never, ever watch those stupid space operas after this,"

"What is a space opera?" the fish asked.

"You would never understand." I scanned the fleet, and nodded. "There must be a thousand ships, and that big one in the center -- your lord and master's flag ship?" I scanned in on the ship as Gortex agreed. I found what I thought was the bridge. The captain, or whatever he was called looked to be a fifteen foot tall, hammer-head shark.

I searched for a moment, then started my plan. I had to gather all of the crew into landing pods, thousands of them, and I launched them all to an aquatic world on the other side of the galaxy. Then, taking one third of the ships at a time, I sent them to an empty world that would be the perfect garage.

I gathered all the crew on the big ship, and sent them after the rest.

"What did you do?" Gortex demanded.

"I am a Guardian of the Worlds. You, as a representative of the invading fleet declared that your fleet would destroy this world, and my home world. I took the fleet away from you. Only the Flag ship remains, and that one is mine."

"You never told me the extent of this being's power."

"Until now," Charlie admitted, "I didn't know that it was that extensive myself."

"Learn something new every day," I said. "Now, Mr. Gortex, I think we need to pay calls on your lord and master."

I checked the atmosphere in the ship, and popped over to it, dragging the flounder with me. We landed in the bridge.

The Captain stood there, at least twenty feet long from head to tail, glaring at us.

"Please, my Lord and Master," Gortex said, and groveled on the floor. "I have the being known as Brian of Trent. I had no idea he was so powerful."

"What have you done with my fleet?"

I shrugged. "The fleet is now parked safely on a world, out there, some where. Your crew have found new lives on another world as well. I'd say they were happy as clams. In fact, I think they are clams."

"You are but a child of your species?" His eyes studied me, lifeless and black as a shark's.

I nodded. "As a unicorn, I am full grown, but yes, I am still considered to be a child."

"I have guided this fleet through the vast, intergalactic space to this spiral mass, only to be defeated by a child?"

"Too bad, so sad," I said with a smile. "Now, I am going to send the two of you off to join your crew, while I revamp this ship to suit my species."

The shark struck out at me. I didn't believe the speed that he could use to move that tail. It connected, and sent me flying across the bridge while the shark screamed in pain. I looked up to see the creatures mouth coming down at me. All those teeth closed around me, I felt myself being picked up, but the shark screamed again as his tongue sizzled.

I jumped out of the mouth, landed behind the command chair, and watched as the shark changed shapes. It shrank.

"What did you do?" Gortex shouted at me.

"He's going to be a donkey -- it's a beast of burden, so I can't send him to a water world."

"A beast of burden?" Gortex asked.

"What did you do to me?" the donkey asked,

"Take it easy, Daisy, it's only for the rest of your life. Now, Gortex there is going to take care of you."

I made Gortex look as human as I could, and sent both of them back to the fairy world. They really should fit right in. A moment later, I started to work on the ship. Soon, I could sit down on the command chair and feel comfy.

A large cat, with outstretched wings appeared on the floor beside me. "Toby?"

The seeger opened it's mouth, and a lady's voice spoke through it. "The Powers wish to thank you, once again for the tremendous service you have done for our world.

The screen in front of me showed the fairy world. The picture focused down to show John's tower in the north. The picture followed a line to the north east and showed a deep forest, I could feel the magic in it. There, in the center of the forest stood a large clearing. Nothing there, except a lake. A line, in blue, drew a large square around the lake and moved out to cover half the forest.

"This is the Barony of Trent," the lady said. "It is in independent holding, in your name only, but you now have a home on this world."

"Thank you for that," I said, truly moved.

"Now, before you wish to explore -- Space, the final frontier, you are needed here. Our seeger, Anna, will take you there."

A moment later, I found myself in a large hall, half filled with people, the same courtroom that I had faced Lord Kalandros. I sat down in an empty bench and waited.

Soon enough, a guard dragged a boy, my age, through one of the side doors, and forced him into a box in front of the court.

"You are the boy called Eric?" what looked to be a clerk asked,

"Yeah, that's me, sir, but I ain't no bloody thief."

"The judge will determine that."

More people entered the court, including a little girl of four that ran over to my bench and climbed up on my lap.

"Hi," she said. "Are you going to save us again? Everyone's mad at Eric."

"Of course I am," I whispered.

She hugged me, and settled back to watch.

I saw Eric look around the hall for his sister. He spotted us, stared at me for a second until I saw his face light up in recognition. He closed his eyes and bowed his head for a minute, then glanced back at me. He looked relieved,

My mouth opened as John and Melody walked into the room, with Toby right behind them. Cassie was not there. Will, my friend from the raided village walked in after them. He stared at me for a moment, then walked back.

"Brian?"

"Yes, it's me. This is Lil, the sister of that young man up in the docket. I think both of them may need a place to stay after this."

"I know just the place, too. I was called here, but until I saw you I had no idea it was so important."

"More than that," I said. "Seeger Toby is here, too. The powers are placing a lot on the outcome of this trial." I quickly told Will what had happened the day before I met him the year before.

Toby turned around in his seat, and stared at me. He gave me a wide grin, then pulled on John's sleeve and made him look as well.

A moment later, the three of them walked back as Will and I moved over on the bench.

Toby managed to squeeze over to give me a quick hug before Lil complained. "The Powers are so grateful to both of you for coming today."

"Toby, have I met your friend?" Melody asked.

"My dear, this is my friend, Brian of Trent. Kimblerly Trent was your maid of honor?"

"Yes, I remember Kim. A lovely girl. I am so happy to meet you,"

The Clerk of the Court called for silence as the judge entered. The judge took his seat.

"Eric, you are accused of taking a large amount of gold coins from Lord Heyden. How do you plead?"

"I didn't do it, m'lord. The gold was a gift to me and my sister. I was careful with it, I was -- just like he told me. I only bought what we needed to live, food and clothes, m'lord. But Lord Heyden started taxing us. I mean the tax men came every week to take more and more from us until we had nothing left, that's when he started talking that I had stolen the gold."

Lord Heyden stood up. At that point, I gave him a full dose of truth telling.

"Is this true, you taxed this boy of all that he had?"

"Of course it is. He had gold, and a lot of it. I wasn't about to let this vermin keep wealth like that, when I could take it from him."

"And you charge him with stealing from you?"

Lord Heyden puffed up for a moment. "He didn't steal anything, but he told his village his father had given him the money, and his father is a known smuggler and thief. Then he changed his story to say that some noble boy gave him the gold. Utter rubbish. Let him prove that, or I want him hung as a thief and the son of a thief."

"Very well, Eric, is it? Who is the noble boy that gave you the gold?"

"He didn't give me his name, m'lord. I was taking my sister to find our dad, when we met him and his friends coming out of the forest. There was a girl, two fauns and and old man with him. The girl was mad cause Lil was crying, but she always gets cranky when she's hungry, and the boy had to fight with them others for us. He saw that we was starving, and he gave Lil food, and the gold to me to take care of her. We owe him our lives."

"Do you know where this boy lives?"

"No, m'lord, but he's right back there, the one with my sister on his lap. You could ask him yourself."

I handed Lil over to Melody, and stood up. I slid out to the aisle, and motioned for Toby to follow me. I approached the bench. "Your honor, I gave this young man food, and gold. The kids were starving."

"Do I know you?"

"Yes, you do, your honor. I'm Brian of Trent. Two years ago you upheld my claim against Lord Kalandros. I took the gold from my own funds, and I will swear to it, if you like. I am a unicorn of my word."

The judge laughed. "Brian, if there is anything in this life I would swear to, it is just that." He stood up, and cleared his throat. "Will everyone stand? We are in the presence of a Guardian of the Worlds."

Everyone stood. I felt like blushing. "It's okay, just doing my job."

As the people sat back down, the judge turned back to the matter at hand. "Lord Heyden, I direct you to pay back every penny of the gold you took from Eric and his sister with a fifty percent penalty for their trouble."

"You believe the word of this child over me?" Lord Heyden shouted.

"Yes, I do. The Guardian known as Brian of Trent has proven time and time again that he is a unicorn to be trusted. Your case is dismissed."

Fiery letters appeared in the air between me, and Lord Heyden. "Beware the Unicorn."

"Pay the kid the money you owe him, and leave, Lord Heyden. Anything else will have you end up Eric's donkey, you know that."

He walked through the letters. "I'm not afraid of you."

I changed to myself, and reared up pointing my horn right into the man's face. "Only a jackass would touch a unicorn. Go ahead, make my day."

The man turned and ran away. I changed back to human. "Good choice." I turned, and handed Eric a bag stuffed with gold coins. "He forgot this."

Toby touched Eric's arm. "I speak for the Powers," he said, and kept his mouth open. "Go with our friend, Will, back to his village. There is a place for you and your sister there. You have been given a great task to perform, when you are ready for it, until then, you will want for nothing."

Chapter 2.

I sat down in the ship's command chair, and resisted the urge to ask for Engineering. "Computer on."

The whole bridge lit up, as a voice responded. "Welcome back. How can I help you?"

"I need information on the Destroyer."

"The Destroyer of Galaxies was discovered by this fleet. An entity of unlimited power, the Destroyer spans the space of two light years."

The screen lit up, and showed a film. The creature had no real shape, only fuzzy outlines -- like a jellyfish. I could see flashes of light, pulsing through the thing, I thought, like neurons, firing.

I watched a bolt of energy fired from the thing's core. The energy engulfed a small star. In seconds, the star shattered only to be absorbed into the Destroyer.

"The Destroyer is on course to intersect this world. From what communication we could establish, the Destroyer is looking for the being known as Brian of Trent."

"Why?" I asked it,

"To destoy it," the machine said, and for the first time since I had changed into a unicorn, I felt scared.

"How far away from this location is that thing?"

"Twenty light years. But, as it absorbs more engery from the stars it consumes, it is moving faster."

"Take us there," I said. "I want to approach the Destroyer from the middle.

The world blinked, and I saw the Destroyer now on the open screen. It moved in waves from the tip of it's nose to it's tail like a giant amoeba. I felt nothing from the creature.

"It is not aware of the presence of this ship," the computer stated.

"Probably doesn't care."

"Is this ship equipped with a lab?"

I felt another blink, and found myself in the lab. I could live here, I thought, looking at the banks of computers. I brought the sight of the creature up on the screen. I sent my thoughts out to probe the Destroyer, and pulled back a second later. The power felt familiar, somehow.

I tried again, sending my thoughts deep in the creature's innards, until I found what I took to be it's core. The thing wasn't truly aware, as such, it just was, but I felt the power that had created it, and it was mine.

Toby's star, I thought with a shudder. I had directed all that power to deep space, where it had exploded looking like a star, that burned out in seconds. But, there was power left over that had grown, and grown with the power I had used to send it to deep space. From there, it had started to search, for me, the one it was created to destroy.

How stupid could I have been? Stupid enough. I never considered that spell could take on a life of it's own. No, it was in deep space and it had exploded and it was over. Now I had to pay for that mistake.

I used my horn to cut a small piece of the beast off it's side. I brought it into the lab, then had to make a shielded box to to hold it. The piece tended to shoot out bolts of energy to regain strength.

After the computers made a complete analysis, I tried to destroy the sample. I tried every spell I could think of and nothing happened. If I couldn't destroy a little piece of the creature what was I going to do with two light years worth?

I finally put the sample back where I had found it, and shuddered.

I read through the analysis, and wished I had paid more attention in science class. None of it made much sense.

"What can destroy that thing?"

"No power in the known universe could destroy it."

I paced the lab for an hour, before I took off to find the kitchen. I ate, and settled back to think. I must have racked my brain for hours, thinking of all the old science fiction films I knew, then it came to me. Maybe nothing could destroy it, but could something absorb it?

"Computer, in this galaxy there are objects that are pure gravity, nothing, not even light can escape their gravitational pull. Find a 'Black Hole.'"

One second later, the computer brought up on the screen something that scared me to the depth of my soul. The Black Hole was nothing, non-existance. This was gaping maw in the galaxy that sucked everything into it.

"If the Destroyer came anywhere near this, what would happen."

After a moment, it said, the Destroyer would be contained within the Black Hole, and it would eventually be destroyed in turn."

"Is there a Black Hole anywhere on the creature's course?"

A star chart appeared. "The Destroyer is here," the computer said, "and this is it's present course.' A line appeared from the creature to the fairy world. "The closest Black Hole is here." Another line veered way off course.

"I will need to find a way to either bring the Destroyer to the Black Hole, or the Black Hole to the Destroyer."

Directing the ship back into orbit around the fairy world, I took myself home, to think some more.

Chapter 3.

After several days, I had the beginnings of an idea. I turned back to unicorn, cut a doorway into a different world, and traveled the forest where I could find Trouble, and his family,

Trouble met me, I think he came the moment he felt my distress. We nuzzled for a moment, before he looked me straight in the eyes.

"What happened now?"

"I need to see the Elders," I said. "There is an entity, stronger than anything in this universe heading this way. It can destroy stars in seconds, and it will take no time to destroy all the worlds we guard."

"I see. Come with me, and now."

We traveled to still another world. I found myself in a large, open field. A few unicorns were present, as well as two of the elders.

Trouble approached first, and waited for the acknowledgment. "Elder, I bring my friend to you, She has terrible news for the worlds we guard."

"Daughter, you may speak."

"The danger before is one of my own creation. I acted, perhaps a little hastily, but I had no idea that the consequences could be so grave." I projected my memories to the elder. "Mother, here, in the battle, the seeger, Toby, used power so grave I could not let that spell complete or it would have destroyed the village we were in, and a great deal of the surrounding countryside. I truly believed that it would destroy everything in range."

"I agree with your assessment. The spell would have done just that. And you responded?"

I showed her the vortex into deep space I had created, and the explosion as the spell went off.

"You did well, my daughter. I would not have thought of that. That spell exploded harmlessly in space."

"I thought so, but the spell was not destroyed in that blast. The explosion scattered the power of the spell over a vast distance in space, but the power remained. It grew." I said. "The power grew into an entity of it's own. The power now has some awareness of itself and others, and watch...."

I projected the image of the Destroyer feeding on a star.

"It would take two years for a beam of light to travel from one end to the other of that -- thing. It is on a direct course toward my home world, and the fairy realms looking for me. It was created to destroy me, and it will wipe out everything in its path. to do so."

I next showed her my memories of everything I tried to do to destroy one little piece of the thing.
"It feeds on power, mother, all power. The starship I took from the invaders declared there was no power great enough in the galaxy to destroy the entity, but only absorb it."

I showed her the image of the Black Hole, and this time she all but screamed trying to turn her head and close her eyes.

"Enough, child, I have seen such, once in my life, and I thank the Light that I was too far away to be swallowed by the dead star. Do you think you could lead that being to the Black Hole?"

"No, mother, I don't. I think I would be destroyed long before then. I have a plan to bring the Black Hole to that creature."

"Impossible."

"Yes, I agree, but there may be a way. I will need time, and a lot of help from every available Guardian to test my theory on this. But, if I am right, we will be able to get rid of the creature long before it can pose a threat to us, or this densely populated area here, about halfway between the creature and us."

She turned and studied Trouble for a moment. "Your father would be perfect for this assignment, my son. I will ask him, for both of you, and have other's join you as they can.

Chapter 4.

I brought the three of us on board the flag ship I had named The Guardian, and directed it back to the Destroyer. Both of the males stood, frozen as the screen displayed the creature. Again, I saw the Destroyer send an energy bolt that took a part a planet.

"That must be dealt with, now."

Without warning, Dad popped out of the ship. and streaked toward the Destroyer before I could stop him. He entered the energy field, and created a vortex with his horn. Traveling in huge circles, Dad made a maelstrom in the power field, but the creature absorbed it. A bolt of energy struck the unicorn and knocked him silly. I grabbed Trouble's hand and together we brought his father back to the ship before he was hit again.

As soon as he was comfortable, I sliced a couple of hunks of the Destroyer, trapped them in boxes, and directed the ship out of there.

Dad woke, a little groggy, and gave me a small smile. "Thank you for my life, daughter. After everything I had heard about the beast from the Elder, and you, I still had to be headstrong, and make a fool of myself. What could possibly stop that thing?"

"You'll see when you're ready. But, for the moment, I want to try something."

In the lab, I had set up the boxes containing the hunks of energy, with a clear view inside. I called on all the powers that I could think of, and formed a tiny dot of the matter that made up the black hole. It appeared in the box with the energy, and we watched as the piece of the Destroyer fought against the gravitational pull. Two seconds later, the hunk of Destroyer vanished forever inside the mini hole.

"What is that?" Trouble asked. The box that contained the hole started to shake. With a thought, I unmade the mini hole.

Back on the bridge, I took us back to just within range of the singularity. Dad, and Trouble simply shook their heads.

"How many of those boxes would we need?" Dad asked.

"Between five and seven hundred," the computer answered.

"This will take time," I said, "and with all the help we can get. When the boxes are ready, we take fly them inside the Destroyer, and open them. All the minis will draw together to for a real Black Hole and you saw the result."

"Do we want to have seven hundred boxes on this ship all at once? What if one broke open?"

"Not on this ship. I have a thousand ships ready to fly, and we would load one box per ship."

The process of making the mini holes was tedious, and time consuming. It took a lot of trial and effort to find the right size -- large enough to be effective, but not enough to destroy the box.

Unicorns would come and go to help as they pleased, but we always had enough help to keep the job going around the clock. I always knocked off and went home to keep Mom happy.

****

"This is so stupid," a stallion complained. "Why do we have to waste all this time making these boxes? We should be fighting, like unicorns, not making boxes because a little girl said so."

"That little girl knows what she's talking about," said another.

"Patience," Dad cut into the conversation. "You can't fight that entity like a unicorn. I tried. If that little girl hadn't pulled my tail back onto this ship I would have died, fighting like a unicorn. That thing feeds on power, any sort of power. With all the power I used against it, I would have been no more than a light snack."

"But it can't stand up to all of us," the stallion insisted.

"My son, that is an idea. Let's try it. My daughter to be has samples of the creature. Let us see for ourselves how well that would work."

I brought out a box containing one squre foot of the beast. The stallion went first. I saw power spinning from his horn, into the box. I saw him struggle as he drew more power and fired it over and over at the sample.

"It's getting stronger," the stallion said.

Dad, Trouble and I added our power to the stallion's efforts. I had to call it off when it looked as if the sample would break the box.

"Now, watch." I placed a mini hole into the box, and in seconds, the sample vanished into the void.

"You see?" Dad asked. "This may be tedious and boring, but it will work. If every Guardian tried at the same time to fight that monster, we would only make it stronger, and lose most of our number."

The stallion went back to work, but I had the feeling he was not convinced.

For the next few days a lot of unicorns showed up to help, but several more started complaining about how tedious this was. My stomach turned sour as I thought about it, and I did report to the Elders about this as well. I thought there would be trouble, real trouble, and I wanted it stopped.

The next day, everyone working in the lab stopped as we received a distress call from one, then another unicorn. Everyone popped up to the bridge and with all that power we arrived at the Destoryer's location in seconds.

There, I saw a whirlwind inside the creature where six unicorns were fighting. A second later, one unicorn passed. Acting as a group, we pulled one unicorn out of the creature as another passed. It was a fight, not against the Destroyer, but with the unicorns that were fighting it.

We managed to pull another unicorn from the fray, as the last three were taken by the Destroyer. A moment later, we had the remains, and I took the ship away.

I felt something else. During the fight, the Destroyer felt my presence. We dodged the bolts of power it sent after us, but the thing transmitted to me.

The language made no sense, but the meaning was clear. "My creator demanded your death, Brian of Trent, I will give it to him."

I didn't try to respond.

In spite of our best efforts, we lost one unicorn on the way back. I refused to believe it. Five unicorns down, when our numbers were so few to begin with. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, and most of all I wanted to tear the Destroyer apart piece by piece and make it suffer as I was.

"Daughter?"

I looked at the old unicorn, and blinked my eyes.

"We have to get the stallions back to their families, and the Elders are calling for us, all of us."

"I thought that unicorns faded out when they passed," I said.

"They do, when it's the right time for them to pass," he said. "In time, the Light will call them back, but until then their families will care for the bodies."

The meeting with the Elders went quickly. We stood in a smaller circle, while the Elders forbade anyone from approaching the Destroyer.

"When the Black Hole project is completed, we will all go to see this to the end. After that, we will call on every capable unicorn to replace what was lost so carelessly,"

Chapter 5.

One thousand ships stood ready on the barren planet I had chosen for them. Each contained one box straining with it's cargo. I placed my ship at a safe distance from the Destroyer, far enough away to avoid the gravitational pull, but close enough to see the results.

The first wave of three hundred ships flew into the middle of the Destroyer, dropped their cargo, and returned to their home world without any response from the creature. The second wave drew a tentative probe, but nothing else. The last wave drew no response.

All of us used a little power to force the boxes into one, huge flock. I gave the command, and all of the boxes vanished, freeing the mini holes. As I expected, the holes started to pull together. Over the next hour, the mini holes formed a small black hole in the center of the creature. Those of us that had worked on making the mini holes, directed power into making the hole larger.

"There," I said, and pointed at the screen. We saw the new black hole, that looked larger than our model. I felt the first waves of a quasar, forming.

The new singularity was not within light years of any star system. But, it pulled in light, gasses, and bit by bit, the Destroyer lost mass as it, too, was pulled into the Hole.

The creature shot bolts of pure power into the hole, hoping to destroy it as it had everything else in it's path, but the power could not escape.

The Destroyer turned frantic as it reached out for anything that might save it. I felt it touch me, and I heard the question it asked. "Why?"

"My death is not yours to give," I answered it.

I felt a pang as I watched the last bit of the creature vanish into the hole, and I felt something else, something that made me furious, but I had no time to deal with it now.

The Elder mare cleared her throat. "Five lives were lost to impatience. But now, they have been redeemed by our Daughter, through her knowledge of human science, and the will to take the time to find the correct solution."

"Grandmother, I think it was also the same trap I've fell into from time to time. I mean, the Guardians have so much power that we tend to forget that no matter how much power you have there will always be someone or something that has more. The stallions that were lost could not even imagine anything that could stand up to six unicorns."

Chapter 6.

I dropped everyone off at their worlds, and took my ship back into orbit over the fairy world. I touched went straight to John's tower, dressed as Kimberly, and knocked on the door.

Toby opened the door, then slammed it in my face. In spite of the bolt, I pushed the door open, and froze the faun where he stood.

"I speak for the powers," he said.

"I don't," I answered him back, with a shrug. "So, tell me about that little spell of yours you directed to kill me.

"You killed it. You destroyed it. What more do you want? That was all the power I had left."

"I thought you were my friend," I said. "I would have given your powers back to you, when the Powers decided it was right, but not after that. That THING destroyed whole star systems. Do you have any idea how many worlds -- how many peoples it killed?"

"No," he stammered out. "It told me it was feeding, growing big enough to destroy you. I didn't know it was killing people."

"Tell me the truth, or it will go a lot worse for you," I said.

"Or what? You're going to throw me into that thing you made?"

"It's a Black Hole, and no, I'm not here to punish you, the Powers will do that. I just wanted to know why? Why did I have to destroy a life form like no other. Why did you set it on this galaxy to destroy everything in it's path?"

"You really are stupid, you know that. I wanted the power again. I created that spell to destroy you and everything for miles around you. All those kids, and the grown ups, too."

John walked into the room, staring at his step-son.

"You sent my spell into space, and took all of my powers away from me, but I made that spell blow up, like you did with that fake horn. You thought it was over, but I knew it was still there. I could draw power from it, not much, but enough. I helped get it started, and it grew, and grew until my spell could destroy a world, then a star, and even a unicorn.

"When my spell moved close enough to this world, then I would have you. With you out of the way, I could take my spell back, and I would have more power than all of the Guardians. I would have more power than the Powers. No one would ever laugh at me again."

"People laugh at you now?"

"All the time," Toby shrieked. "They call me stupid, because I can't talk like they do. I'm half-faun, and they hate me for it."

"You know that isn't true," John said. "No one has laughed at you or made fun of you since you moved here."

"I hear them laughing all the time," Toby said.

"So? People can laugh, and it doesn't have to be at you," I said. "I used to get beat up at school all the time, so which is worse?"

"I don't care. Everyone hates me."

I looked at John. "Ever wonder about Columbine? We came this close to losing this world because of his hatred."

Toby screamed. "The Powers say I am not a seeger any more. They hate me, too." He balled his fists, and stormed across the room at me. "You have taken everything from me."

"Go ahead, hit me if it will make you feel better. Have I ever hated you?"

He stared at me, then shook his head. "No."

"Toby, it's my job to guard this world against threats -- even from my friends. But, this can't go on. I think you need a vacation, a long vacation, and maybe when you get back you will feel better about yourself."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm going to grant your fondest wish," I said. "I want you to spend some time with your father and brother."

He snorted. "They hate me, too. I turned Deelan into a fawn, remember?"

"You think they could forgive you for that? They have, I know. Here," I said. A second later, Toby turned into a faun, as he had that day with the Hunter. "Go, they are waiting for you, and they will send you home, when you are ready."

Toby patted himself down. "You did this for me? Why? I tried to kill you."

"You forgot who you were. Cassie's spell, and all that power made you forget the person you were when I met you. Toby, you are a good kid, a really good kid. Remember that." I sent him off to join his other family.

"That was very kind," John said. "I will miss him, too. He is a good kid."

I felt something else, and I nodded. "Take care of the others," I said, "but I need to see someone."

Outside, I found Trouble waiting for me. "Are you quite finished?"

"Yes, thank you," I said with my best grin. "Why are you here?"

He gave me a puzzled look. "Why do you think, my darling. We need to answer the Elder's call."

"I didn't hear them? What call?"

"Remember? We need to replace what was lost."

I frowned and walked by his side. "We need to pass our powers on to new unicorns?"

"No, why would we give up our lives when we are needed here? I have no wish to return to the Light at this point. There are other ways to replace unicorns, many ways, and I will be happy to teach you what they are."

"Oh," I said, feeling stupid. "Oh!" I felt my whole body blush. "I just bet you will teach me."

"It is our duty as Guardians, my dear."

"Duty, so that's what you call it."

He picked me up, kissed me right on the lips, and a second later we stood in a huge pasture not far from his parents home.

Chapter 7.,

I walked into the house, through the kitchen door, to find Mom sitting at the kitchen table, smoking and drinking coffee. "Mom?"

"Kim," she said and crushed the cigarette out. "I wasn't expecting you in so early. Where have you been? Saving the galaxy from aliens?"

"No, that was last month, Mom. This time I was getting everything ready."

She looked down at the papers on the desk. "I'm glad you're getting ready. I don't know how I am ever going to manage this mess."

"What?" I asked as I sat down at the table. A glass of sweet ice tea appeared on the table in front of me.

"Bills. I did get that raise at work, but even that isn't helping. The bank will be foreclosing on the house, and soon."

"I told you I could take care of that," I said.

"What, with those gold coins?" she demanded.

Two ingots of gold appeared on the table, along with several huge jewels, two huge diamonds, and a larger sapphire. "Like that?"

"That's a fortune," she said. "Where did you get this?"

"From my vault in Glengarion. Mom, this isn't even petty cash for me, just loose change."

"You could have told me about this," she said.

"I have, lots and lots of times, mother, but you kept saying that everything was fine. You didn't need this."

She slumped forward. "I never dreamed it was real."

"It is. That alien creature I fought was real, and I have a fleet of a thousand spaceships ready to go anywhere in the galaxy. Now, are you ready for some good news? The best news is the world?"

"Yes, if you will sell this gold off and pay the mortgage."

"I will, there's that new jeweler in town that buys this stuff. But, we may not have to. Let me explain."

"Let's get to the jewelers now."

"Mom, I wanted to tell you the best news in the world."

"Do you want to go out for ice cream? We can afford to celebrate now."

"Mom, will you just listen to me? I'm going to have twins."

"That's nice, Kim, but what about that ice cream...." She frowned. "What do you mean twins?"

"Boys, twin boys. Mom, I'm pregnant. I won't be able to stay here much longer, that's what I was getting ready."

"Kim, are you sure? Have you seen a doctor?"

"I am sure, and no, I don't need to see a doctor." I took a long sip of my ice tea. "Not much a doctor could do for me, anyway. But, as I said, I'm leaving here, and...."

"You're running away? Kim, this is no time for a temper tantrum. You're too young to be pregnant.... Who's the father?"

"Trouble, my colt friend?" I said. "You've met him. Tall, handsome and brilliant?"

"He's in trouble for this. What's his real name?"

"You don't speak Unicorn, Mom. You wouldn't understand it."

She stood up. "Kim, look at you. You are developing nicely, and beautifully at that, but you're not ready to have a baby, let alone twins. If you can carry to term it will be a miracle."

"Mom, you're not getting this. I am fully grown, as a unicorn, and I won't have any problems at all. That's what magic is all about. It takes six months, well five months now, and...."

"What takes six months?" she asked.

"My term. It takes six months, which is why I can't stay here much longer. I have to go home, and get ready."

"You are home, and it takes nine months, the last time I checked."

I shook my head. "Mom, think about this. I'm not pregnant as a human."

"What's that supposed to mean?" she demanded.

"Mom, when a two horses mate, what do you get?"

"A foal," she said.

"Yes, and that takes eleven months. When two people make love they get a baby and it takes nine months. When two unicorns mate, well, have wild passionate sex like you wouldn't believe, it takes six months to make a unicorn foal. I'm not having babies, Mom. I'm having unicorns."

She stared at me.

I pointed down to my nether regions. "I'm not ready to carry a human baby to term in this shape, but I couldn't think about carrying two foals, with hooves and horns like this. I have to turn back to unicorn so I can't stay here much longer. I've spent the last month getting our new house ready."

"New house?" she asked, and still looked stunned.

"Yes, palace would be a better word. See, technically, I am the Baron of Trent, now. The Powers awarded me my own land, and that title since I'm famous there as Brian of Trent. I had to be a boy most of the time I spent there, so I have a title, and all this land but most of the land is in this enchanted forest, well, except for the lake, but I didn't want to clear trees for the house, I think they'd get upset, so I built the manor house in the same town as John built his tower.

"You were there for his wedding last year. Remember? Nice place, and our house will move itself, when it feels like it, but it is really big. And there is this huge pasture, for Trouble and his folks when they come to visit, and to raise the kids."

"Kim, couldn't you just turn the babies to human?"

"No, that wouldn't be right. They are going to be born unicorns, and I will be there to help teach them their jobs, but it will be their choice if they want to turn human or to take human names. I mean, I will, once the kids are weaned, and they may change because I do, but they are going to be unicorns before they are humans. I did it the other way, you know, and it makes things a little awkward with the others."

"You don't have to do this," Mom said. "You are still so young to get tied down with kids, now."

"I am a unicorn, mother. All able bodied unicorns were called, by the Elders, to do our duty to the worlds and our species, and to replace those poor souls that were lost. I am having two, and from what I've heard there are a total of twelve on the way.

"I do have just short of forever to live my life, have fun, and raise many more foals than these, but the Guardians need the new unicorns now, not in a few years when you think I will be ready, I know what my duty is -- duty, that's the word for it, and it is another part of the job description."

"So, as I understand this, you are going to live in this big house, as a unicorn to have your twins, and it's a magic house?"

"I will be in stable as a unicorn, and yes, it is. Come on," I said pointing to the kitchen door. "It's right out here."

Mom opened the door to see the lake at the south end of Trent. She slammed the door closed. She opened it, and stepped through to the banks of the lake. She looked around the forest as I joined her.

"It's okay, everyone. I want you to meet my Mom," I called out.

Two young satyrs ran out from the woods. They giggled, bowed, and ran back. A moment later, two fauns stepped out of the woods. Deelan pushed his brother forward.

"Deelan, good to see you. This is my Mom. Toby?"

Toby bowed his head. "I owe you more than I can every repay," his thoughts flashed at me. "I lost me in the power of the seeger, and I swear it won't happen again. You were right, my father and Deelan welcomed me back, and this is where I belong."

"He means home, with our family, not here," Deelan explained.

"I got that part. Mom, this is Deelan, and his brother Toby. Toby's the kid that did his best to destroy the universe."

"They're naked," Mom said, as if in a daze.

"No, they're fauns. Half deer, and half boys. It really wouldn't make sense for them to wear clothes."

"They even have white tails, this is incredible. I am so happy to meet both of you."

Toby bowed, again, and held out his hand to Mom. She shook it, and stepped back. "Where is the house?"

"In town. I wanted this land to stay untouched, a sanctuary for anyone or thing that needs it." I turned to Toby. "I'm going to show her the house. You are welcome there, when you go back to visit your mother."

Toby nodded, and both of them ducked back into the woods.

I snapped my fingers, and we stood at the edges of the village. Mom took one look at the village, the controlled chaos of the houses, and villagers, and sighed. "I could live here."

"This way," I said and almost dragged her down to Mr. Bedrick's shop. "You won't want to go home after this."

I saw Mom's eyes water as we walked into the shop. "What is that? I've never smelled anything so delightful before."

"Bread. Mr. Bedrick is a true magician when it comes to baking bread. Mr. Bedrick, my Mom."

"Ah, the lady who would have killed you if you didn't change back into a girl?"

Mom laughed. "That is so true"

Mr. Bedrick split a loaf of bread, added butter and gave each of us a half. Mom took one bite, and glanced at me.

"I will never forgive myself. Kim has told me so much about your bread, but I never believed it could be true. I will be staying here, with her, and I will need a least a dozen loaves a day."

"For you, Mrs. Trent, no charge. You will have all the bread you want. I owe my life, and my shop to your daughter, and her Unicorn Fund."

"I will still pay you for mine. I'm eating for three now."

"Congratulations," he shouted. "You and your stallion friend must be so excited."

"Yes, it's his first time, too. He will be moving in with me, too, to help with the foal rearing."

"The two of you will be married?"

"In human terms, no, but in unicorn terms, yes. There is a ceremony that the Elders have for this occasion, and when it is our turn, I will invite the whole town. I have one more stop to make before I show Mom the new house."

After we finished our bread, I took Mom outside, then took us to Glengarion to visit my first warehouse.

"Kim, that building is yours? It's a palace right out of a fairy tale."

"Where do you think you are, Mom? This whole world is a fairy tale. But, I took that from the slave trader I told you about, and that is where I store my gold, and the gold for the Unicorn Fund. Come on."

We approached the main doorway, complete with a portcullis. "Password," the door said.

"Let me through, or I will kick you down with my hooves."

"Enter, Lady Kimberly."

The door and the gate cranked open long enough for the two of us to enter, then they slammed shut.

We walked through the yard to the main keep. A leprechaun popped in front of the door. The tiny person was young, as leprechauns go, and he help up a hand.

"Now, then, who might you be?"

"Kimberly Trent, the unicorn that owns this castle, and you?"

"Are you any relation to Brian of Trent?"

"Yes, that's me, any other questions?"

"State your business, or be turned away," he said.

"My business is my own, not tiny people's. But, I need to pick up some gold, and show my mother around the place. I know, you're just doing your job, but don't annoy the unicorn. I'm pregnant, and not in the mood for it."

Ten more leprechauns appeared in front of me. The one I had been talking to backed off, and an older man, cleared his throat. "Now then, missy, we will let you in, but first, we have several demands that must be met."

I changed to unicorn, power ran up and down my horn and I pointed to right at the man's chest. "I think someone needs a lesson in manners." I used the power to clear the castle of everyone, except the mice.

I looked around the assembled people. "Okay, wee Timothy, what is the name of the Light are your buddies doing, trying to keep me out of my own castle?"

"It's okay, lassie, the boys were just having a little fun with you, that's all."

I stared down at the man with the demands. "You think this is a bit of fun?"

"No, it isn't. We are the workers in your castle, and we will not be ignored. We have demands that have to be met, missy, or you will be barred from this place."

"Excuse me? You are within five seconds of spending your life as a cockroach. Do you want to rethink that last statement? I am a Guardian of the Worlds, and I'm pregnant, don't mess with me."

"All you ever do with that gold is give it out to people in need. What about us? We need it, too, and we are demanding half of that gold for our use."

"This is a not for profit operation. According to the 'Do-Gooders Handbook', rule number 56, helpers at the warehouse are not entitled to any more compensation than has been agreed to. Tim, how much do you pay these guys?"

"A gold piece a day."

"And what is it that they do for that gold piece a day?"

"We take care of the gold, and everything. We keep it organized, and neat."

I stared at the man. "And?"

"That's what we do. We keep it organized, and if we don't get the gold we demand, we will just take it."

"You're a cockroach," I said and watched the leprechaun shrink into a bug. "Anyone want to join him? I turned the man back. "Any questions?"

"She can't take all of us. Get her, lads, take that horn from her head."

"If you touch me you will spend the rest of your lives as donkeys. That's the way the magic works and I can't turn you back. Go ahead."

"She's right, Collin, that's the way the magic works. Only a jackass would touch touch a unicorn, and I will not prove it."

Collin waved his hands, and cast a spell at me. "Now, then, missy, give us the gold."

"And, if I say no?"

"I command you to give us the gold," he shouted, and stood back.

Others started in with the chorus, "Give us the gold." All of them cast control spells at me.

After a while, I had two groups. The larger one was with Collin, and the rest were with Tim. "We are not cockroaches," one of Tim's group said.

Collin stepped forward. "I command you to give us the gold."

I looked at Mom. "It isn't all a fairy tale. But see what I go through? I don't need a crew of leprechauns to keep this place neat and organized, and I don't need to pay them in gold for a job that should pay a few copper pennies. Try to be nice, and they want more."

I sighed, and turned back to the new Leprechaun's Union. "Who asked you guys here to keep this place organized?"

"Timothy did, as a favor to you," one said.

"Who agreed to pay you so much for your services?"

"Timothy, did."

"Who owns this castle and all the gold in it?"

"You do," the group chorused.

"I can do with magic what you guys do for a gold piece a day. I won't be a bully about this, but I want each and everyone of you to apologize to my mother for causing this scene, then go back to work. Or, you may walk out the gates, and you will be barred from ever returning. Your choice."

Each member of the group cast another control spell at me. "Give us the gold.

"Five.... four.... three.... two.... one. Done." I cast the controls spells right back at them. "Freeze, each of you.

They did so.

"Get on your hands and knees and bark like dogs."

They did so.

"All of the gold that Tim paid you has been returned to the Unicorn Fund, with thanks for the donation. Now, march out that gate, and go home. You are not permitted to return here, or to any of my warehouses. Anyone who tries will be a cockroach. Is that clear?"

"Stay right where you are," Collin said, shaking himself out of the control spell. "You don't scare me, my girl. Give us the gold."

The others followed his lead.

"Okay, you're cockroaches, and you were warned. You will stay cockroaches for the next two years, anyone who survives will get a gold piece from me. Good luck, but I will spray this place down with Raid if you get any ideas."

I gathered the bugs up, and dropped them in the back alley where I had met the flounder.

"What was that all about," Mom asked me.

"The definition of power. I found rule number one the hard way, but it's true. People with power have a hard time thinking that there are others that have more power than they do. Those leprechauns didn't believe that I could take them. But, that's rule number one. No matter how much power you have, there is always someone or something that has more. That applies to everyone, except God. I told you about the Destroyer, the being that was two light years long? One light year is several trillion miles. It was about half the distance from our sun to Alpha Centauri. It could destroy stars with a thought. It killed five unicorns, because they grew impatient, and could not believe it had that much power.

"And yet, all that power was no match for a Black Hole. So, it goes on."

The castle doors opened, and I took Mom through the building.

"Well?" I asked her at the end of the tour.

"I could shoot myself. For two years, you have been telling me about this wealth, and I thought you were making up tales, like you did when you were small. All the times you offered to pay the bills, I just shrugged it off and worried myself sick, because I didn't understand rule number one, either. My child is not supposed to have all this power, but, now that you do, let's go see the new house."

Chapter 8.

I stood in my pasture, watching my two month old foals race, hell for leather across the fields, stretching their legs, and enjoying the sun.

"Well, Lassie," Tim said, popping in on one of the fence rails. "Things are still quiet at the warehouses after your last inspection. The boys are growing well."

"Yes, they are," I said with a lot of pride. "The last of this years foals have been born. We have seven boys and five girls. Finally, a real increase in numbers. Trouble and I are going to do our duty again, when the boys are grown a bit more."

Tim sighed. "The end of an era, this is. No more adventures for you, and Brian of Trent will fade away into the legends of this world, as did Black Johnnie and Lord Kalandros."

I gave the leprechaun a long stare. "And just what do you mean by that?"

"Now that you're the mother to such fine boys, you won't be turning human anymore now will you?"

"You don't know me, too well, do you? If you think I am putting myself out to pasture just short of forever, you are getting senile in your old age. You may be too old for adventures, but as a human I will be fifteen in a couple of months. I have a large area back home, that has to be tended, and I will not go back as a unicorn, and I am still a Guardian, kids or no kids. The boys have seen me, in my human forms, both of them, and they are eager to give it a try, too."

"I should have known you would be bringing them up to be as headstrong, and stubborn as yourself."

"Why thank you, Tim, I didn't think you had noticed. Stubborn, that's me, headstrong, and I don't back down, but even you, I hope, will admit that Brian of Trent left this world better than he found it."

"Yes, my lass, I will admit that, and so will everyone that was a slave, or lost a loved one to Creel. You did well for this world. But, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, heaven help us when there are three of you out there, trying to help."

"You haven't seen anything, yet," I said, and stepped out of the way as Mom and Mr. Bedrick walked out to the paddock.

The twins raced each other to get the the fence first.

"Gramma, Grampa, cakes?" they chorused.

"Of course, little ones," Mr. Bedrick said and passed out two oat cakes, made with fresh grain and a helping of maple and brown sugar oatmeal from home. Two seconds later, Trouble popped in for his share.

I saw the way Mom looked at the baker, and he returned the look. There was a bit of difference in their ages, but if they could find some happiness, I was all for it.

A shadow passed over the grass. Mom looked up and trembled at the sight of a large dragon, with bright red and yellow scales, flying over head.

The twins looked up, and shouted, "Uncle Charlie! Uncle Charlie!."

"Very good, both of you," I said. "Charlie sent that dragon over head. Why, I couldn't say, but the twins saw it as an illusion, not a real dragon. Okay, boys, why did you know that wasn't a real dragon?"

"Mommy, it has no smell, and no heartbeat, and we can't hear the wings beating."

"And that means?" I said.

"We always use our noses, ears, and eyes."

"Perfect. You guys are learning fast. Now, I want you to do this together. Use your power to bring that dragon down here."

Bands of Light flowed from both of their homes, surrounded the illusion, and brought it gently down to the ground.

"Okay, kids, let's make this illusion better."

"Do they have that much power?" Mr. Bedrick asked.

"Yes, and much more than that, even for toddlers, but it's Charlie's power they're using."

The dragon grew twice the size, a moment later, the smell of sulfer filled the air, and the sound of rasping breaths followed by a couple of loud growls followed.

"Good job. Both of you will make the Elders so proud. Now, who can tell me what you do when you meet a real dragon?"

"We bow real low," one said, and showed his grandmother. "And we say, 'Ancient One, it is an honor to see you."

"No, that's not right. We say, 'Its an honor for you to see us!"

"Uh uh. Mommy, what's right?"

"You had it right, my darling boy. Your brother was just teasing you. Now you," and I said the other's unicorn name. "Do dragons eat unicorns?"

"No, they don't Mommy"

"Good for you. Now, let's make that dragon fly."

Charlie appeared outside the fence. "Kimberly, my love, what are you doing?"

"Showing the kids how to make your illusion better. See?" I pointed at the dragon, that sat up on its haunches and growled. A moment later, it blew a jet of flame."

"That's draining my power when you do that," Charlie complained.

"Why did you send that dragon here, if you didn't want the kids to play with it."

"Good dragon, Uncle Charlie," both of the boys said.

"I am not now, and I never will be related to a unicorn," he half shouted.

"But Charlie, you should be proud that the boys have taken to you so well. Remember what happened when we first met?" I said.

"All too well," he said. With a snap of his fingers, he made the illusion vanish, and he vanished a second later.

"He didn't say good 'bye," one of the boys said.

"You could bring him back and remind him," I said.

A second later, Charlie popped back in. He glanced around. "What?"

"You forgot to say good 'bye to the kids. It means a lot from their favorite uncle."

"Good 'bye, children, and don't ever do what your Mom tells you to do." He popped out again as the boys laughed.

"You're demon sounded rather testy when he left," Tim commented.

"He hates being a doting uncle, or so he says."

"Now then, my lass, I had a question for you. What happened to all of the cockroaches that used to be my pals? I knew where they nested."

"Ah, glad you asked. I had a change of heart," I said. "I gave them new lives."

"As what?" Tim demanded.

"As leprechauns. I gave them a new, permanent home, and let them invite their families and, or girl friends to go with them."

"Do I want to know where you sent them?"

"Sure, if you ever want to visit them. I sent them to Gallway, a little place outside the city, and close enough to the bay."

"You sent them where?" Tim asked.

"Ireland, wee Timothy. I sent them to live in the west country. If anyplace in the worlds needs leprechauns it's Ireland."

Tim threw back his head and laughed. "That it does, my lass, that it does. I have never been there."

"Then, when the kids are old enough, and if Mom wants to go on a vacation, you can come with us."

"I think I just might. If only to keep you and the kids on the straight and narrow, if you get my meaning?"

"That, I do," I said with another laugh. "I don't know what I would ever have done without you, Tim. I really don't."

"Uncle Tim, did you really know Mommy when she was a little boy, before she became a unicorn like us?"

"I did, lad, I did, and someday, when you are old enough, I will tell you all about it."
 
 

To Be Continued...

 
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction set in a universe where magic works. If anyone has questions about the science involved in this tale, please refer to the previous statement, or see my story, 'Faster Than a Speeding Tall Building', for more information.

AH



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