Waiting for the group to come back proved to take too long.
Amelia left her spot by the window to get ready for bed. Some time earlier, her sister had retreated into Emit’s library, looking for any helpful clues.
She had been in there for so long, without so much as a bathroom break. Amelia was beginning to get quite worried.
“Amara?” Knocking on the door, Amelia let herself in. At one corner of the library, Amara was intently studying a book opened in front of her.
When Amara heard her sister come in, she looked up and closed the book she’d been reading. “Yeah? What is it, sis?”
Amelia shuffled her feet as she tried to figure out what to say. “Shouldn’t you get to bed soon? It’s not like all that information will disappear tomorrow…”
To this request, Amara shook her head. “The sooner I learn anything important, the better.” She then strode out of the library, with Amelia following her. “Besides, at least it wasn’t us who had to be in that story.”
As the two sisters wandered through the still ruined home, Amelia looked out the nearest window. She could only hope that no grievous harm befell them all.
Sighing deeply as she followed the others, Annette remembered another problem at hand. Her audible exasperation didn’t go unnoticed.
“Now what’s wrong, Andromeda? Did you leave the stove on at home?” Sometimes Ox-Head’s bizarre mindset was endearing, if a little confusing.
Annette just shook her head. “I just remembered Sinbad has my ring. I kinda need that to get home.”
“Ohhh…” Ox-Head then went back to looking ahead towards the others.
Eventually, everyone made it back to the main room. There was no sign of Horse-Face’s companion, but The Twin was in their usual spot.
The Twin took one glance at the book being held, and pulled it out of Harwood’s grasp. Right away, they got to reading it with a sort of intensity.
“Um… All right, then.” Sinbad was understandably at a loss for words. Annette and Ox-Head then strode by him.
Poking her head out of the passage door, Annette could hear The Builder singing surprisingly well. There was also the occasional yelp of pain coming from Horse-Face.
“Okay, so they’re probably going to be looking for all of you, so…Best you stay in here.” Annette didn’t hear any opposition coming from any of them.
By the time Annette stepped out of hiding, Ox-Head was already out and doing a silly little dance. Before she closed the door, Annette saw Sagebear sit next to the door.
“That’s a good girl! Make sure Sinbad gets you lots of treats when this is over!” With that, she left. As she and Ox-Head walked, both of them could hear The Builder suddenly switch in audible demeanor.
Horse-Face could only watch as The Builder delved into a blubbering mess, as they also blurted out nonsensical gibberish.
“Um…Are you all right?” They didn’t answer him. All The Builder did was pull out a menthol cigarette and lighter. With shaky hands, they put it to their lips and lit it.
Despite doing this supposedly to soothe their nerves, they kept trembling. Horse-Face reached towards them, but only got his hand slapped away.
Then The Builder ground their cigarette into his arm, to his intense displeasure. His attempts at protest were silenced by them snarling at him. A long, serpentine tongue only added to the creep factor.
Horse-Face stepped back, thoroughly disturbed by this, just as Annette and Ox-Head were showing up.
“Did we miss something?” Annette said in a dry voice. Ox-Head was just too frightened to say anything.
“So are ya sure that whoever this is can translate all that parlez-vous mumbo jumbo?” Blaise was a bit skeptical over The Twin’s ability to decipher the languages in Sunny’s book.
The Twin had already gotten to work, writing down translations as quickly as they could. What could be read so far looked to be the words of a tormented man.
“We’ll just have to wait and see, and hope that it’s accurate,” Dennis answered her.
Marc and Harwood looked on in a sort of amazement as The Twin wrote away.
“I gotta say,” Harwood began, “if this person can write hanzi this quickly, I just might ask them to write my biography!”
“That’d be a good plan,” Marc said in response. “Might do that too, if I ever manage to do something great!”
A few feet away, Sinbad and Shark were huddled together next to Sagebear. Sinbad had said hardly a word since earlier, which worried his fiance greatly.
“Sinbad?” Shark got his attention by rubbing his shoulder. “Are you still thinking about earlier?” Sinbad just nodded.
Then came a brief silence, before Sinbad actually started to say any more.
“The blue lady’s right. That fucker looked just like me.” He slapped his hand to his forehead, and slid it down his face while groaning. “Which means there’s at least one alternate universe where I didn’t end up with you.”
“Oh, Sinbad…” Shark leaned over and rested his head on Sinbad’s shoulder now. “But in this universe, you did. Don’t worry about what another you did, in another reality.”
He began nuzzling Sinbad’s neck. “Besides, I’m not going to marry that Sinbad. I’m going to marry this Sinbad,” he said as he gently poked a finger into Sinbad’s chest. “I want to marry my best friend someday, you know?”
These words were enough to put a little smile on Sinbad’s face. Even though he still felt bad for everything, he wanted to put Shark’s mind at ease.
Sagebear joined in on the sappy cuddle time by hopping into Shark’s lap, and setting her paws on his chest. Chuckling at this, both men proceeded to lavish her with pets.