Annette was on the verge of pissing herself, for standing before her now was her almost exact doppelganger.
“Tea time? It’ll be ever so much fun!” The other Annette shook the teapot at her again.
All that Annette could do was frantically shake her head. The doppelganger tried to appeal to her again.
“Don’t by shy!” The fake Annette’s voice sounded as sweet as sugared honey. “Tea time will be wonderful! You get to have all the tea and durian ice cream you like! And all your friends and family will be there!”
Crawling backwards, Annette managed to get back to her feet. The duplicate let out a crazed, hyena-like laugh.
“Come now, Annette! Don’t keep everyone waiting! It’s very rude! You’ll get the most gorgeous dress, and the best seat at the table! It’ll be grand!”
Once more, Annette shook her head. She took another step backwards, before turning and running off.
To her dismay, the fake Annette ran after her, giggling the entire time. Looking behind her shoulder, she saw that she was practically skipping.
“Why do you flee?! Don’t you want to see your loved ones again?! You’re being very rude, Annette!”
She tried covering her ears to block out the words.
Before long, Emit was buried as well as possible. On a stake sat his glasses, as both a grave marker, and a testament to who he was. Dennis, Blaise, and Marc stood by with Sagebear as the twins gave their last respects to him.
“Shouldn’t we say something?” Marc asked the other two when the girls stepped back.
Blaise only shrugged. “Ya know what we could say? All we knew ’bout the guy was that he did time stuff.”
Apparently hearing her, Amara and Amelia stepped towards the group.
“Emit was not just our mentor,” Amara began. “He was like a father to us, especially after our mother died. He taught us as much as he could about what he did for a living. He also had us learn of this legend just in case. ”
“And yet,” Amelia picked up after her sister. “He didn’t tell us what to do should the legend come about in our lifetime. It was supposed to happen to us, but…”
Dennis, for some reason, felt the need to press for info. “But…? Why didn’t you?”
It was Amara that spoke again. “Our mother was also meant to be part of the legend, but she…When Emit told her what was to happen, she threw herself into the pool and drowned. And now this…”
After a few moments of silence, Amelia spoke up again. “The last words Emit shouted before he died were, ‘Vivat regina malum’. It’s a sign that the legend is beginning to come true.”
“Huh? How do you make of that?” Marc asked them.
“Yeah! What do some fancy schmancy Latin words have to do with anything?” Blaise said after him.
Amara shuffled around and readjusted herself. “That’s because when that is said, it signals the arrival of…”
No matter how long and how far Annette ran, she didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Her duplicate behind her didn’t seem fazed in the least.
Soon, her legs ached from overuse, and she tripped over onto the ground again. Above her, the doppelganger loomed with still a deranged smirk.
“Don’t you want to see those you love again?! Don’t you want a pretty dress, and tea that makes you joyous beyond all belief?!”
When she shook the teapot enough, a nasty liquid splashed out at Annette. It smelled rancid, like spoiled milk. The dress that the fake had on was tattered, and torn.
The fake Annette then continued with her maniacal giggling. It then delved into outright laughing.
And then it suddenly stopped. At that point, Annette watched as a blade started poking through her duplicate’s chest.
When a few moments passed, the doppelganger fell to the ground, with a familiar sword in her back. Annette recognized it from decades gone by.
“That’s a…How’d that get here?” Looking up, Annette caught sight of The Twin pulling the blade out of the fake Annette’s chest. They then twirled it a few times, and sheathed it somewhere on their back.
“That was an Antarean sword! Does that mean you’re…” But Annette didn’t finish. By this point, the dream world shook violently, and she was plunged into darkness.
Everyone was shocked at what Amara had just told them all. Even Sagebear’s mouth seemed to drop of its own accord.
It was Marc who thought to speak up first. “So is there any way to stop it from happening, is there?”
Amelia nodded. “There is, but…would it perhaps be a better idea to also tell this to the rest of your group? That way, they’re not out of the loop?”
With that, they all made their way back to where Shark, Sinbad, and Harwood were sitting. The only problem was that the three were no longer there.
“Oh, boy…” Dennis groaned and facepalmed, as Sagebear ran over and sniffed about the places they had been.
Once The Twin opened their eyes again, they pulled their hand out of Annette’s head, and stood up. Horse-Face’s companion looked up at them, hopeful yet fearing the worst.
“Were you able to find her?” Before he got any sort of an answer, Horse-Face himself came dashing down the stairs.
“Builder’s coming! Hide!” He spoke in a hushed yet firm tone. Quickly, The Twin took hold of his companions hand, and ran back into their hiding place.
Once they were out of sight, Horse-Face peered down at Ox-Head. In return, Ox-Head stood up and looked around.
“Is the tea party over? Am I in trouble?”
Sunny and Moony had the unenviable task of bringing in the three newest prisoners. The Builder walked ahead of them, with their hands clasped behind their back.
“I really don’t see the point behind all this, Builder,” Moony said as he tried to reason with them.
The Builder snapped their head back and made an angry face at him. “And I don’t see the point in having you existing! Be grateful, you walking patchwork quilt!”
This shut Moony up, leading him to stay close to Sunny. When they all reached the prison cells, The Builder opened it with a flourish.
“Now you know the drill; if they start showing signs of escape, kill them.” This elicited a scared noise from one of the captives.
Grabbing hold of all three, The Builder shoved them down the stairs.
When Annette awoke again, she was surprised to find she was in the cell, and not the dream world. Her conscious state got Ox-Head’s attention away from Horse-Face.
“Andromeda! You’re awake!” He cried out in joy. “Does this mean we don’t have to do tea parties anymore? Because tea parties scare me now!”
Seeing her friend being his old self got Annette to smile again. Her smile then quickly faded, however, when she saw who had been pushed into the room.
“Oh! So you’ve managed to break through your crazy! How lovely,” The Builder told her sarcastically as they descended the stairs. “This just makes what I’m doing even sweeter.”
They then shoved their new captives upright with their foot. Despite the bindings and duct taped eyes and mouths, Annette immediately knew who they were.
The red, brown, and grey hair was unmistakable. Somehow The Builder managed to kidnap Sinbad, Shark, and Harwood.
“No…How…” These were all the words she could say, so dumbfounded at this situation now.
(Note: If you wish to know more about who Annette is, go here.)