Malum’s decapitated head fell to the ground with everyone watching. It ended up splattering all over like an overripe melon, with some of the mess getting on Meliora’s face.
Then, all was silent for a little while. It became so quiet, that it was almost stifling. Annette bent over the edge of the pillar, trying to get a better look.
“Is it over?” She could hear Shark quietly ask.
A violent jolt rocked everyone off their pillars, and plunged them all toward the bottom. Annette squeezed her eyes shut, in preparation for the imminent landing.
It wasn’t as harsh as she was expecting it to be. It felt almost like she were falling onto a pile of pillows. That didn’t seem to be the case for the others, however.
Whoever wasn’t the assistants were groaning at the hard landing they just experienced, with Marc in particular moaning out, “Ow, my stump!” Sagebear was up and at it right away, sniffing everyone’s faces to make sure they were all right.
All around them, the setting was changing. Now, instead of a white nothingness, there was a beautiful blue sky with numerous fluffy clouds. Or at least, it was a mural that looked like the sky.
“I can’t believe it…” Annette whispered. “I can’t believe it’s finally over. It’s over, right?”
Not looking at anyone else, Meliora wandered over to a certain spot on the platform, away from everyone. She then took hold of the sword she’d been using, and tore open a hole into the air. Out of this hole stepped Regina.
The two of them regarded each other with warm smiles, as a mother and daughter should always do. Then the two embraced, which resulted in a shimmering bright light bursting forth from them.
“Holy hell!” Dennis interjected as he and the others tried to shield their eyes. “Would it kill you two to cut back on the lighting effects?”
The light then faded, and now there was only one of them, or so it seemed. Although it looked like Regina had stayed, it was clear that Meliora was now the one inhabiting her body.
“Mel?” Annette reached out to her, to get her attention. She was acknowledged from this gesture, before she gained an idea. “Hey, Mel. Can I ask you something?” Stepping closer, Meliora made it known she was listening.
Meanwhile, the others were surrounding Malum’s dead body. Harwood pulled himself over to it, and poked her back.
“Yeech,” he said as he felt the way her skin moved under his finger. “Bad enough this girl made Madame Mao look like the Goddess of Mercy. I don’t want to be the one who has to bury this sack of evil garbage.” The others nodded and gave their words of agreement.
By this point, Annette gave her secret request in its completion to Meliora. In return, Meliora walked over and took hold of her sister’s dead body.
“So, uh…What are ya gonna do with that?” Blaise asked of her. Meliora just put her finger up, as a way to tell her and the others to watch.
Then, she closed her eyes, and quietly concentrated on something. In seconds, she stomped her foot on the ground, and made Malum’s body vanish. This came at the surprise of everyone.
“Hey, lady! The fuck did you do?” Sinbad’s question was answered when three more bodies materialized nearby.
With a renewed sense of liberation, Sunny, Moony, and Ox-Head were now admiring their living bodies.
“No way…” Moony was astonished at seeing himself alive again. Though he didn’t say anything about it, Sunny looked to be amazed as well.
Ox-Head looked to be the happiest of all, given what he blurted out. “I can touch myself again!”
“Nickel for every time I’ve told myself that over the years,” Sinbad muttered to Shark, who snorted to keep his composure.
As everything was going on, Marc noticed something off. He waved his stump towards the theoretical fourth spot with the assistants. “Hey, I think you guys forgot someone, I think.”
His observation resulted in Horse-Face’s ghost appearing before all of them.
“She didn’t forget,” he said to them all. “I just don’t deserve to come back.” It was admittedly quite weird to see an alternate version of Sinbad being so penitent. “That’s how great the atrocities I’ve committed are.
“And I don’t have a reason to return to the world of the living,” he went on. “The other three do. The only reason I had to keep going…hung himself in the hidden passages. So an eternity of torment is what I deserve…”
It was then quiet again as his ghost disappeared, never to be seen again. The other three assistants stood quiet, until Meliora got their attention.
“Eh? What is it, lassie?” Meliora stabbed a hole in the air with the sword, gesturing for any of them to go on through.
In the end, it was Sunny and Moony who opted to go through this one. Before they did, both of them turned to look at Annette.
“So, uh…it was fun while it lasted, demon girl!” Moony was trying to keep himself as polite sounding as possible, before he stepped through the portal. Sunny hesitated, thinking of something to say to her himself.
His voice was still quite hard to get used to, since he rarely if ever spoke.
“Dans chaque fin, il y a un debut,” he finally told her before walking in after Moony. Then the portal closed after he was gone.
No one said anything for a few moments. Then Annette turned to Meliora.
“So…Maybe open one for me, so I can get home?” Meliora nodded once, and opened another portal.
Annette decided to say her goodbyes to everyone while she still had the chance. As she turned around to do so, it was apparent that at least one or two of them felt the same way.
“Well…” Shark said to her in a slightly trembling voice, as Sagebear waddled over to his side. “I guess you’ll be wanting Sagebear back, huh?”
Hearing her name, Sagebear wagged her tail as she looked up at Annette. Annette was eager to be able to have her dog back again, after so long.
As tempting as it was, however, something was telling her to decline. While she quietly thought about the best course of action, Ox-Head slipped behind everyone and jumped into the portal meant to bring Annette home.
Swallowing, Annette shook her head, as she pointed Sagebear towards Shark.
“You know,” she told him. “I think you need her more than I do.” Shark was stunned at her declaration, before grinning and bending down to hug Sagebear.
“Yay! You get to stay with us, Sagebear!” Her tail kept wagging, even though she seemed rather confused at this turn of events. Now seeing that Sagebear would be well-cared for in this universe, Annette turned to go.
She was stopped when one of the others called out to her: “Yo, Annette!” When she looked back, she caught sight of Sinbad with his arm up.
Once he had her attention, he lowered his arm. Then, without saying anything, he gave a sort of bowing gesture, lowering his head along with the rest of him.
Knowing what he was trying to tell her, she returned the gesture with a smile. Then, seeing that everyone else was giving their own silent farewells, she returned them all, and then stepped into the portal, on her way back home.
As soon as she was gone, and her portal was closed, Meliora turned her attention to who was left.
“This is probably an obvious question to ask, but…” Shark scratched the back of his head. “Do you know a shortcut out of here, miss?”
Meliora picked up the Antarean sword again, and tapped it with a little smile. She then thrust it into the air before her, and opened one last portal.
Then, she waved for all of them to go through, which they did with a sense of urgency.
Upon emerging onto the other side, everyone was surprised to see the future world again. Malum’s base was that dreary and draining to be in, it seemed.
Everyone was also surprised and pleased to see the twins again. Amelia ran over to them with a big smile on her face.
“You’re alive! Oh, thank goodness!” As she cried tears of joy and happiness, Amara set off reactivating the time machine.
“And just in time, too! I’m guessing your town is finally de-crystallized, since you’re all still here.” She then patted one of the machine’s prongs. “Next stop, Twinbrook!”
All of them gazed upon the machine in awe, thankful that their little town was hopefully back to normal.
Blaise and Dennis were the first ones to go through, their arms around each other’s shoulders as they did so.
“So how surprised do ya think Alma and Dudley are gonna be when they see we’re back home so early?” Blaise asked as they were going in.
“Only one way to find out, madam,” Dennis said to her before they disappeared.
Next went Marc and Harwood. Both of them were nervous, given their recently acquired handicaps.
“So, I guess…Try holding on with your arms, old man?” Marc then felt Harwood’s arms squeeze tighter around his torso.
“As if my life depended on it,” Harwood told him. With this secure hold, the two ran in through.
Now, Sagebear was watching intently as everyone returned to their time, her tail slapping from side to side. Sinbad looked down at her, then gestured toward the machine.
“Ladies first.” With this, Sagebear backed up a little bit, then charged on back to the present day.
Finally, it was only Shark and Sinbad left who had to go. Sinbad walked back over to his fiance’s side, and took his hand.
“So I guess we go back home and get married,” Sinbad told Shark as the two approached the time machine. “I think after the shit we’ve been through, it’s only natural.”
Shark nodded. “I agree. Uh, I mean…” He then became slightly flustered as he tried to find more fitting words. “I do?”
“Hopefully you do when we get back, man,” Sinbad told him with an amused little smile.
The two of them then stepped closer and, under the watchful eyes of Amelia and Amara, who were tearfully waving goodbye to them, ran into the time machine’s portal.
Back to the Twinbrook they remembered.