Papa Returns!

Papa Returns!

The morning sun seemed to be slowly dipping the city in molten gold, one steel skyscraper at a time.  Though she had been up the whole night, Karia Odon didn’t blink or flinch looking into the world’s furnace of rebirth – she glared at it in watery defiance.

“You know she made the right decision, right?” her brother asked her.  He had been looking for her since the fateful confrontation that could have spelled disaster for the whole world, and only just found her nearly 16 hours later.

“I know.  I was childish and small minded.  At least that’s what Geist told me when I dropped him off at the base.”

“Yeah, he was really mad you took him away from the group at such a pivotal point.  But he understood where you were coming from.  I talked to him about it, and he said he told you that it was also noble.”  Nicholas Odon sidled up next to his sister on the edge of the nameless spire upon which she’d picked to sulk.

“But it was still rash.  Balisong made the right choice to not trust me.  But I’m so tired of being a little kid!  When will I get the wisdom that you seem to already have?  We’ve been alive the same number of years.  I should be at least kinda close to you, right? This is all dad’s fault.  I think this all has something to do with him.” Karia’s hand rested on the enchanted bang staff she’d inherited from him on the day she first transformed, the day she thought she’d finally grown up.

“Oh, I don’t know about that.  We’re mutants, in a world of mutants.  We’re normal.”

“But I’m not normal!  I haven’t ever heard of a mutant that is like me.  I Hatched From An Egg.  That’s more like alien pod-people than a mutant origin story.”

“Pod-People?  Have you been watching movies with Ethel?”

“Yeah, she likes me. She’s kinda like the gramma I never had.” she said through a sniffle.

Nicholas glanced at his sister’s face, to gauge her emotional state.  She’d obviously been crying, but the talk about their father and grand parents – who neither of them had ever met or heard mentioned by their mother more than a handful of times – didn’t seem to have caused her to cry more than she already had been.  “Gryphon said he understood, too.  He said that he’s sorry for yelling at you, but wanted you to know that it doesn’t excuse trying to kill them all on the roll of the dice.”

“I know, but he was SO MAD!  I wasn’t trying to murder anyone, it was what I had seen him do a billion times.”

“No, he sacrifices himself so others didn’t die.  You tried to sacrifice everyone.  The difference is both minuscule and incalculably vast.”

“I know, but I wasn’t trying to …”

“I’m not accusing you.” He wrapped his arm around her slight shoulders, and gave them a squeeze. “You had a plan to save the universe and it didn’t work, and made people mad.  That’s part of growing up!  You have more responsibility and more agency.  Making wrong choices isn’t a sign of immaturity.  Kia, you’re ADULTING!  You made it, you’re there.  Last year you wouldn’t even have been able to pay attention long enough to get to this point.

And with all of the new information and sensations that’re inundating you, I’m proud of you!  You have the respect of several members of S.A.V.I.O.R. – And that’s a major accomplishment!” He gave her shoulders another squeeze.  She sniffled, and sneezed, and Nicholas found himself falling off of the building!  He reoriented himself and flew back to Karia, and where the little girl used to be was a giant dragon.  “Did you mean to change?”

“NO!  I don’t know what’s wrong with me! I haven’t ever changed like that, not since the first time!  NICKY, WHAT’S GOING ON?” The dragon’s deafening roars rattled windows and sent ripples through puddles leftover from the previous day’s storms.  As if to answer her, a portal opened on the opposite corner of the roof, several hundred feet away.  Karia’s scaled head whipped around, and her slitted eyes narrowed at the newcomer.

“Ah, there you are.  Karia, your friend Hank is also my friend.  My name is… Well you can call me Chiang.”  The man stood taller than average, with a loose silk shirt unbuttoned to his stomach, his white linen pants and his jet black moustaches blowing in the slight breeze.

“I don’t know you, and I don’t believe Hank would have talked to anyone about her, so why have you been spying on us?” Nicholas stepped in front of his dragon-sister, blue energy gathering around his closed fists.

Chiang stood in an at-ease pose, hands clasped behind his back, and said with a grin, “Child, you do not know him nearly as well as you proclaim, but that is another issue entirely!  Suffice it to say that I know what I know, and I mean neither of you harm.  I have a message to this one from your father.”  He nodded at the dragon, while not breaking eye contact with Nicholas.

“What is it?  How do you know him?  And how do we even know if you’re telling us the truth?” Nicholas continued to gather energy in his hands, and started to raise into the air, his hand-tailored suit billowing with the ambient breezes.

“Calm, child.  You know, because I can show you proof.”  He reached behind him into the still-open portal, and pulled their mother out of its twisting heat-haze depths.

She cried out in joy and ran to Nicholas, grabbing him around the waist. “You don’t call anymore! The only person you talk to is Karia, and since she moved here I don’t hear anything!  How’s work? Did you work the publishing problems out for your text book?  You’re still skinny as a bean-pole!  Do you not have time to at least order food from somewhere every once in a while?  Kia, honey!  I’ve missed you, too!  How was your first day -”

“Mrs. Odon, I have brought you here as promised, and your belongings are in the storage unit.  I need to pass the message to Karia before I leave, and I don’t want to be here longer than I have to be.” Chiang’s mouth quirked downward briefly, a show of impatience breaking through his nonchalant mask.

“Oh, of course.  Sorry Mr. Ku, continue…” Lulu Odon said almost sheepily – which broke Nicholas’ mask in an expression of disbelief.

“Karia, I promised your father I would give you this message:  ‘Karia, you are the latest in a long proud line of ancient magical creatures called Dragons.  I wasn’t sure if either of Lulu’s children would manifest any attributes.  I am glad that the spell has broken, and that you can start to become the being you were destined to be.  I cannot visit you in person for fear those that are after me would turn their gazes on you.  Know that the knowledge and power of all of those before you lie within you!  Follow your heart, and strive for your full potential!  The man through whom this message comes is a Dragon as well, and despite the disregard most of our kind have toward one another he agreed to deliver this message for a price.  He will not help you in the way he has helped your friends.  Please maintain your distance when possible.'”  Having delivered the message, Chiang turned, and stepped through his portal, which disappeared after him.

Silence reigned on the windy rooftop.


5 Replies to “Papa Returns!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.