“Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don't really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way. Ends are not bad and many ends aren't really an ending; some things are never-ending.”
- The Journey to the Afterlife
I rub my temples after listening to Warden’s confession. It took us some time to coax the details out of her, but in the end we got her side of the story. “So let me get this straight. You reincarnated and found yourself in that other multiverse-”
Warden interrupts me, happily giving me a lesson on physics. “Not another multiverse. Strictly speaking, it’s a separate space-time-pocket which operates on a slightly different quantum wave than this one. Imagine the current multiverse as some kind of foam, each bubble representing a different layer of existence. There are bubbles for beings like us, even for mortals, etcetera. What I did, was to punch a hole into the membrane between two of those space-time-pockets.”
Yeah… right! I suppose that made sense to the others, but I’ll happily ignore this explanation. “Whatever! So you reincarnated and got it into your head to punish your creator for all the bad things that happened to you, instead of being glad to be an independent being. But for some reason, you didn’t reincarnate with the rest of us because the soul-bond didn’t extend to you for whatever reason. After a long time of searching your multiverse without results, you came up with a plan to force Dad to come to you instead of searching him.”
Beth scowls. “I would be happy to be left alone...”
I draw a deep breath to continue, “So what you came up with, was to launch a devastating war against everyone, taking over several of those space-time-bubbles of yours?”
Warden bites her lower lip, which looks cute with her perfect looks. I would hug her, if she wasn’t a prime example for a psychopath. Who in his right mind decides to kill billions, maybe trillions of people, just to find one person.
“Are you insane!?”
Warden flinches when I scream at her. “B… B… But it was the only way! How else was I supposed to find you guys again? It may have taken an eternity of reincarnations, and even then I had no guarantee that we would recognize each other. So I relied on the fact that this idiot,” she nods her chin at Shade, “always finds a way to claw his way to the top. The thought was to create enough of a commotion to force him to seek me out.”
“I promise that I never had something against you, Seria. Or anyone of the others. You aren’t to blame.”
Shade scowls at Warden, who is definitely trying to assume the role of a victim. “Then why did you run away the first time we met?”
Warden turns red. “Because you surprised me and I caught a serious case of stage-fright. You and your men appeared out of nothing and destroyed one of my operations. I wasn’t even aware that I already drew your attention. I was surprised myself when I wasn’t able to face you.”
Beth raises a hand. “That’s all fine and well, but we still have to take care of that rift. And what to do about the spirits? If Warden’s story is true, then there is an immeasurable number of spirits out there. There is no way to fight them all.”
Mom enters the discussion for the first time. “There has to be a way. As much as I want to deny it, but Warden seems a lot like a female version of that completely useless husband of mine.”
“No! Take that back! There is no way that there are any similarities between the two of us!” Shade complains, but there is a flicker of doubt in his voice.
“Shut up! And to return to the problem, even if the both of them are maniacs, Shade always has some kind of fail-safe in his inventions. So Warden must have one too.”
Warden looks away, definitely intending not to answer.
“If it’s like that, then it’s good that my anaesthetic doesn’t shut down the pain receptors,” Mom grumbles and bends down, reaching for Warden’s well endowed chest, pinching and twisting with a grip like iron.
I manage just in time to cover my husband’s eyes with a hand before the screaming starts. There are some things in this world which men aren’t supposed to see. Ever.
Turns out that Warden didn’t inherit Dad’s tolerance for pain. In a matter of minutes she is a crying, snivelling wreck. Which is a little disturbing. Seeing someone howl in pain while not trying to move away from the source of the displeasure is a new one to me. When Mom reaches for other parts of Warden’s body, Warden is suddenly very willing to spill the beans.
“Nooo, just stop! Gods, I’ll never be able to feed babies! The same signal which keeps the spirits at bay can be used to issue a self-destruct command. There is a storage device with all the necessary instructions in my pocket. As for the rift, all you have to do is to shut down the station’s power. The tear should repair itself if you give it some time.”
Elona searches the pockets - of which there are many - on Warden’s black attire. At last she finds the item and reveals a black cube to the rest of us.
Marcus taps my hand, which is still covering his eyes. “Am I allowed to see again? All this left me somehow with a sour feeling. To lay waste to my town for such a petty reason. Her logic is understandable, but there are certainly other ways to get infamous.”
Right. I step forward to get the black cube from Mom, then I place it in Marcus’s hands. “Go and find some technicians who can make sense of this, then proceed to send the signal and shut down the station’s power supply.”
Marcus looks at the black cube in his hand, then at me. Finally his attention wanders to Warden who is still crying after receiving Mom’s special idea of torture. “Why do I have the feeling that you are trying to get rid of me? Warden still has to answer for her crimes, you do realize that?”
I pat his chest and smile. “Don’t worry. Warden will be punished, but this is a special case. In a very real sense it’s a family matter between my parents and Warden. There are a few things we have to consider before we jump to conclusions and issue punishments.”
Marcus furrows his forehead, but finally turns around to head back to the citadel. “Just make sure that she won’t bother us ever again. As long as the spirit attacks stop and she is sufficiently punished I’ll not raise any objections that you are the ones who judge her.”
I turn back to Warden. “How exactly should we punish her? It’s not like we could wipe her memories and send her on to her next reincarnation? I would like to believe that such a thing is a long term solution, but can we really be sure that the old rules apply in this new version of the multiverse? Do we have a guarantee that she won’t remember us? There must be some kind of link between her and Dad, so will anything we do to her affect Shade? This split-soul thing is totally new to me.”
“We could lock her up and throw away the key,” Shade offers.
Mom kicks Dad without the slightest remorse. “And how would that be any different from the first solution? No. As much as I dislike it, there is only one long term solution to all of this...”
Beth looks up, still holding the sobbing Warden. “And what would that be?”
Elona smiles at us. “A soul-bond! We could reincarnate her as my daughter. At least I could oversee her development and eradicate any problematic character traits.”
Shade curls down the corners of his mouth in displeasure. “I don’t want her as a constant reminder! Why don’t we add her as the eternal adversary?”
“That won’t do. I’ll certainly never again watch a bitch-fight like earlier,” Mom bristles.
I raise a hand. “Why not as Mom’s sister? If I remember correctly, then there was a time when Warden was into Shade. It would make for some interesting dynamics if the two of you compete for Dad’s at-”
Mom moved faster than I could ever react, kneeing me in the guts and sending me to the floor with a karate-chop. One moment I was standing upright, and the next I am in a foetal position on the floor, trying to spill my guts all over the place. Luckily I didn’t eat much before we went on this adventure.
Elona crosses her arms in front of her chest, looking down on all of us. “If I have to endure this woman for the sake of the multiverse, then I won’t accept any other relationship than the one of a mother and a daughter. Shade is mine! Forever! There will be no competition.”