Carpathia III: Epilogue 7 - Bunny and Kitty
Rune Lake, New Berengaria
As the motorcade entered the city, they picked up a police escort, which accentuated the view from the windows with an array of flashing red and blue lights. As they drew nearer to the house, Jaze pressed his face up to the window of the car, looking both for anything familiar and to see if anything had changed.
Jaze: Atom Club... Wave pool...
By now, the area was very crowded and everyone they passed turned to gawk at the speedy procession. Lights blazed from nearly every window and streetlight, giving the ability for Jaze to see the look of curiosity on every face as they whizzed by. Little things he never thought about before now commanded his rapt attention. The colorful, dancing waterspouts in the fountain in the middle of the roundabout. The bump where the road buckled ages ago and was never fixed. The artisan flower planters that decorated the sidewalk.
Jaze sniffled they went past and he turned away from the window, pressing himself against Toma.
Toma: Are you okay?
Jaze sniffled again before responding.
Jaze: I didn't think I'd ever see any of this again... or any of you.
Elektra: Take your time, sweetie. You can see everything at your own pace.
Jaze's house, Rune Lake, New Berengaria
The motorcade slowed as it turned onto Jaze's street. For a moment, as they approached his house, Jaze thought that it might be on fire with all the police light bars flashing around it. It quickly became clear that the area was simply closed to traffic. After passing through a police closure, they pulled into the driveway, the four limos making a half circle in front of the house.
Jaze followed Kradik and his parents out of the and immediately had to stop and take a breath. He didn't remember humidity being this high. Kradik immediately turned right and headed over to someone standing nearby, who Jaze recognized as Cassidy. Whatever they were discussing, Jaze didn't care, and he turned his attention back to the house. Same color. Same flowers in the planters. Lights blazing from every window. Somehow, he simultaneously felt like he had just left yesterday and yet hadn't seen the place in decades. Car doors opened and closed, spilling more and more people out. Jaze wondered where they were going to put everybody. He watched as Kaoru darted from his car to Quilyon's.
Tier: I'll go in. I have to take care of Binky first.
Jaze's attention suddenly diverted from the cars to his dad, who was unlocking the front door.
Jaze: Binky? Who's Binky?
Jaze darted to his dad, who was already through the front door. Once inside, Jaze only had a second to look around before he watched his dad scoop up a midnight-black bunny from the floor. The bunny wriggled itself deep into Tier's arms and stuffed its nose into the crook of his elbow.
Jaze: You got a bunny?
Tier: I did. This is Binky.
Toma arrived and also looked upon the bunny with curiosity.
Toma: That looks like one of the pictures from my science textbook back home.
Tier: I just wanted to make sure to put him in the laundry room with his friend so that he doesn't get trampled.
Jaze's ears popped up.
On cue, Kradik stepped up from behind carrying a tan, short-hair cat with stripes.
Toma: Dad, what's that?
Kradik: This is Bob, my pet cat. I asked Cassidy to meet us here with him. Bob and Binky like to play together.
Already, Binky had pulled his face from Tier's elbow and started sniffing at Bob. Both seemed quite eager to get to each other.
Jaze: Bob? You got a cat and named him Bob?
Kradik: It's a Carpathian name, isn't it? You Carpathians do have a strange culture. Bringing animals into your home for no reason other than companionship? I thought it was a bit nutty at first, but I have warmed to the experience.
Together, Tier and Kradik each took their respective pets to the laundry room for safekeeping.
Elektra: Just so you know, Tier and Kradik have become best friends since you two went missing. Their pets have been quite a bonding experience. Now go on inside. Your room is just how you left it and everyone else is waiting.
Jaze glanced behind to see a large crowd of his friends surrounding him and waiting, with Lynx looking particularly amusing towering over all of them like a skyscraper in a small town.
Jaze hurried inside and found his home very much the same as the day he left. He didn't have much time to look around, however, before he heard the sound of something crashing frantically down the stairs.
Unsure of what to expect from his brother, Jaze braced himself. Dominic emerged from the staircase wearing a rag tied around his head and a dust mask, which he promptly ripped from his face before charging at Jaze and scooping him up in a bear hug.
Dominic: I missed you! I was afraid you'd never come back!
In disbelief, Jaze could swear that Dominic's voice started to crack, especially with his last sentence. Jaze tepidly hugged back recalling vividly how much he used to dislike his brother, but something seemed very different this time.
Elektra: Dominic has been such a sweetie since you disappeared. He helps out around the house a lot now, volunteers with youth organizations, and stopped partying all the time. When I found out we were going to have so many staying at the house, I asked him to come over and start clearing out the third floor.
Jaze stammered, hardly believing that the person Elektra was describing was his brother. Suddenly, however, Elektra shot Dominic a stern look.
Elektra: He smokes more than ever now, though.
Dominic: Hey, I can't give up everything immediately!
Unfazed, Elektra maintained her glare and put her hands on her hips.
Elektra: If you insist, but no smoking around the kids!
When his mom mentioned the kids, Jaze suddenly realized that the house was very quickly filling up with people. Reuli, Wolfram, Kagurain, and Roose were already excitedly running around investigating the house. In the meantime, Dominic's ears were already sagging.
Dominic: Yes, mother.
Elektra: Now, you ordered from the Chinese place like I asked?
Dominic: I did! It should be here soon.
Elektra: Then let's get as much space ready as possible. We can start with the dining room.
As Dominic and Elektra rushed off to do thier cleaning, Jaze surveyed his surroundings, but it was difficult for him to get a feeling of nostalgia with all the people milling around. Starting to feel overwhelmed, he began contemplating going somewhere else, at least for a little while, when a noise from the bathroom helped to expidite his decison.
Reuli: Woo! Look at the swirly water go down the hole!
Jaze: Toma, let's go to my room for a little bit before the food arrives.
Toma: Sounds good.
Adell stood alone amidst the bustling throngs of people in the house, casting furtive glances at Lord Lynx, who was sitting comically on a couch that was much too small for his considerable height, his knees pointing into the air. While shifting nervously on his two feet, he rehearsed in his head how he might introduce himself to the leader of New Carpathia. Finally, he took a deep breath and forced himself to tiptoe over to Lynx.
Adell: Um... Mr. Lynx, sir? I'm...
Lynx turned his gaze to Adell and, to his surprise, looked upon him with recognition.
Lord Lynx: Adell! Have a seat.
Lynx patted the cushion next to him, but Adell was frozen in place.
Adell: You know me?
Lord Lynx: Indeed. I saw you in the memories that Ryuu showed me.
This relaxed Adell somewhat, as it saved him the trouble of a long, awkward introduction. Slowly, Adell turned and sat on the couch next to Lynx.
Adell: Um, about that. How much did Ryuu show you?
Lynx raised his paw to his chin and stroked it thoughtfully.
Lord Lynx: Hrm... Just about everything, I should think. However, he did say something about leaving out all the parts that involved wee wees.
Adell giggled, in spite of himself.
Adell: Heh. Anyway, I kind of expected that. I know we can't keep everything secret, but you know what we did and you know about what we can do. We don't want to be treated like freaks or heroes. How much of all this do you think we can keep under wraps?
To Adell's surprise, Lynx smiled at the question.
Lord Lynx: An astute question, indeed, which shows a gread deal of foresight. I shall see what we can do.
Adell: Thank you.
Lynx now scanned the room until he caught sight of Jaze coming down the stairs.
Lord Lynx: And speaking on the subject, Jaze, may I see you for a moment?
Jaze turned with a start.
Sheepishly, with his ears folded, Jaze approached while Lynx continued to scan the room.
Lord Lynx: And where might Tuomas be?
Tier poked his head around the doorway from the kitchen and then ducked back in again. In just a few moments, he emerged with Elektra and Tuomas in tow.
Elektra: Oh my, Mr. Lynx! I hope we haven't been neglecting you! I know you probably want to take Kagurain to see his mother, but it would be remiss of me not to ask if you would care to stay for dinner!
Lord Lynx: I assure you that I do not feel neglected. I shall be delighted to take you up on your offer. You see, my wife and three other children are all on Andrast together attending a youth sports event. They are boarding a ship now, but it will be a week before they return.
Elektra: I see. We are happy to have you, then.
Lord Lynx: At any rate, that's not the reason I asked you to join me. Jaze, there's something you should know sooner rather than later. Given the circumstances of Tuomas's birth and that he's the first hybrid of his kind, you can imagine that I have taken an interest in his well-being. For a long time, he was a weak and sickly child, but a few months ago, two extraordinary things happened. First, he suddenly became strong and healthy. Second...
Lynx paused, considering his words carefully.
Lord Lynx: Better to show than to tell, I should think. Tuomas, show Jaze what you can do.
Tuomas's ears fluttered on his head as he touched the ends of his fingers together.
Tuomas: Is it really okay?
Lynx smiled and ruffled Tuomas's hair with his massive paw while Jaze awaited in intolerable anticipation at what this grand reveal might be.
Lord Lynx: It's okay. I believe at least some of our questions will now have answers tonight.
Tuomas nodded and turned to Jaze. He looked back at Lynx, who nodded at him, gently encouraging him to proceed. Tuomas then held out his hand and curled his fingers into a loose fist. Then, with a flick of his fingers, a small flame appeared, dancing just above the palm of his hand.
Jaze looked upon the flame with astonishment which quickly gave way to an almost euphoria. Lynx had just told him that Tuomas was sickly, and it seemed that whatever Hades did helped Tuomas as well. Jaze sniffled and brushed a tear from his eye.
Jaze: That's great! He did it! I don't know how, but he did it!
Tuomas hastily doused his flame as Jaze pulled him into a tight hug. In the meantime, Elektra and Tier looked at each other and shrugged.
Tier: What is it, Jaze? Who did what?
Jaze stepped back and brushed the tears from his eyes again before facing his parents, who looked upon him with eager impatience.
Jaze: Now look what I can do.
Jaze held out his own hand and clasped his fingers into a loose fist, just as Tuomas had done before. Again, just like Tuomas, Jaze flicked his fingers, creating a small, dancing flame hovering just above the palm of his hand.
Jaze: There's more. So much more. Ryuu can show you everything, but we should wait until everything settles down first.
And indeed, explanations would have to wait. With a ring of the doorbell, the food had arrived, bags upon bags of it, signalling the beginning of a great, if hasty, feast to come.
All city pictures from SimCity 4