epoch7 Sylvia sat near the entrance to the Magic Cave, swirling her sword around, as she had nothing better to do. Her mother had left her there for the moment, to go to some sort of meeting that Sylvia knew nothing about. There were always meetings, always places where her mother had to be... but her mother was not a politician, and they may have worked for the castle, but they weren't close to the royalty. In fact, any orders sent to them were sent through the knights, and they were done for little pay.

Sighing, Sylvia fell backward into the grass, swaying her sword back and forth, slicing off the tips of the blades of grass. When would her mother return? Sylvia wanted her revenge against her father desperately. She hated him. She loathed him. She despised him. Sylvia recalled the stories her mother would tell her about him... how he would never acknowledge that he had a daughter, and how he used her mother, and coaxed her under his bed sheets...

The stories were always the same about him, and his relationship with mother, how he always lied to her, how he always told her they would never need to be careful because "everything would work out in the end..." But things never worked out. And her father abandoned her mother... yeah, that was always the story... no matter who Janice claimed to father to be...

"Mom! Are we ready?"
"Yeah... does my hair look flat?" Janice asked, her messy red curls falling over her shoulders.
"It looks all messed up. Where were you?"
"Your mother was just getting some work done. Come on, its time to get your father back for what he did to you!"

Janice took Sylvia by the hand and walked her toward the castle.

* * *

"What is the secret? Spekkio, tell me!"
"I'm not allowed to! I already have said too much!"
"Spekkio, there is a way to make this stupid machine work, and its up to you to tell me so I can get home!"
"Spit it out!"
"No!" Spekkio crossed his arms and turned around in disgust. "I will not reveal the secret of the Drive"
"Spekkio... damn it!"

Lucca started banging on the Epoch, her face so red with heated anger that you could fry an egg on it. She looked at Spekkio, who insisted on keeping quiet... Lucca stared at his Nu form, and her eyes glared at the special point she knew to be the Nu scratch spot...

Rolling up her sleeves, she took her index finger and started scratching lightly...

"Ooh.... ooh... oh... eee..." said Spekkio, as Lucca started scratching a bit harder.
"No... I won't say it... ooh..."
"Come on, Spekkio, you know you can't resist..."
"Ooh... Uh.... ohhh.... eeeeh... eh... eh... ooh!" Lucca started scratching furiously, but not hard enough to hurt Spekkio's rubber like skin.

Lucca stopped scratching Spekkio's back and gave his arm a friendly tap.

"Thanks Spekkio, you really helped!"
"Oh... you vixen you... fine then! Use the secrets of the ages!"

* * *

A short time passed while Lucca searched inside the castle for any remnant of any type of tea, the anxiety building in her stomach. She wanted to go home... she wanted to sleep for a day... and let all her worries drain away into her dreams...

Magus noticed Lucca's search and approached her shyly, daydreaming of saying to her what he said to Marle. He offered his help to her as she searched for any remnants of any tea, whether it was a used tea bag or even some of that formaldehyde tea that poisoned Lucca earlier... but she would have no help from him, and instead, he went to take care of the sleeping Marle. Realizing just how close they were to getting home, he decided to wake her, and even though she resisted, she eventually sat up and woke herself, promising herself that she would finish her sleep later on.

Crono and Glenn watched the Epoch on the outside, as the search continued on the inside of the castle. Glenn stared at the machine, eyeing its parts, the jumbled messes of wire hooked up the gloriously glowing gold box in the center. After careful consideration, Glenn decided that some things needed to be cleaner... He unhooked several little bits and pieces of wire and rearranged them carefully, so the colors would look better around each other.

And Spekkio would wander around the sides of the castle, muttering Biblical prophecies concerning the end of the world according the Christianity and how they pertained to the Apocalypse that was soon to come when the Entity's final hand let go of its grasp on existence...

* * *

"I... I think I found some! Yes! It's one of those tea bags! It has one single drop left on it..."
"Wait! Don't even move..."
"Marle, this is our way home... we can finally go home!"
"Don't shake it! I'll go get Magus. We'll go outside."

* * *

Lucca squeezed the bag carefully over the box, but nothing would come out of it... the single drop left had fallen on the way out, and hope for tea seemed lost.

"Damn it... our last hope is gone..."
"Glenn... this is it... stuck here forever!"
"Come on, Lucca... don't cry now..."
"Well why shouldn't I? I'm stuck in a world not my own, I'm tired, I haven't slept in days, I spent hours and hours trying to fix this machine that Glenn went and screwed up because it LOOKED funny..."
"Aww man..."
"I don't want to be here... I'd rather be dead than have to live here!"
"I can arrange that!"

The girl jumped from the sky and landed a few yards of length away from the entire crew, who were huddled around the Epoch.

"I've come to take what's mine."
"And what might that be, brat?" asked Magus, as he walked around the side of the Epoch.
"Revenge on you!"

The girl quickly summoned a quick water spell of great weakness that flew from her fingertips, but she was still too slow, as Magus was able to block the rushing water that came from above him, and send it behind him, right onto the Epoch.

"Damn it, Magus! You drenched the wiring!"
"Whoopsie..." Magus said, somewhat pleased... maybe Lucca would have to stay longer?
"Wait! Lucca! Look! Water got on the tea bag! Squeeze it!"

Lucca squeezed the tea bag carefully, and watched as but the tiniest drop fell from the tea bag, and landed smack dab in the center of the Infinite Improbability Drive. Lucca started laughing as tears of relief and joy fell from her eyes. Home was within her grasp!

"Damn you... you tricked me..."
"Why don't you concentrate on hurting me, brat, instead of the innocent bystanders?"
"Because they're all a part of it! All of them!"

She drew her sword and lunged toward Magus, who grabbed her arm and pinned her on the ground.

"I'm too fast for you, girl..."
"Watch yourself or I'll slice off your ear!"

The girl kneed Magus in the groin and rolled out from under him, then standing at attention. Magus, who was wearing his hard armor at the time, was able to recover quite quickly, and stood.

"Father certainly does have pretty ears..."
"I am not your father!"
"So prove it, Janus! Prove it!" yelled Janice, who approached from the distance.
"Do you really want me to prove it? Hmm?"
"You can't prove shit, daddy..."
"You hold your tongue... I don't care if you're my daughter or not, I will not be cursed at!"
"Sylvia! Where did you learn such words?" yelled Janice, as she came, out of breath.
"From you." replied the girl, quietly.
"You say those again and I'll have your head!"
"Don't speak to your kid like that, Janice." Magus said threateningly.
"Don't tell me how to raise my daughter!"
"So she is your daughter! And not mine! You said it!"
"You... no! She is yours too! The ears!"
"I wasn't born with these ears! They came from elsewhere!"
"You lie... then what about the hair?"
"What about yours?"
"What do you mean what about mine?"
"What's under your bandanna, Janice? You know, I have never seen your bangs before..."
"That's because you were too busy banging me!"
"You would use such words in front of your child?"
"It's nothing she hasn't heard before!"
"Why do you say such things in front of me, Mom?"

Everyone fell silent, as Sylvia sheathed her sword and looked her mother solemnly in the eye.

"You know, we used to watch that Crystal that I found all the time... all those shows with those people... they never said words, the parents never said dirty things around their kids..."

Magus watched as the child confronted her mother, and stood back, no longer worrying about an attack from her. Instead, he joined Lucca, Marle, Glenn, and Crono, as they stood around the Epoch, watching the argument ensue.

"What is under your bandanna, mother? You used to play with my hair all the time, and you would never let me play with yours. Why?"
"Well... I have curly hair... it gets tangled a lot."
"So? I can comb it."
"Janice, remove the bandanna. Show your daughter the truth." said Magus, quietly.
"Yeah, Mom... show me..."

Janice stood backward, her arms on her hips.

"You will not toy with me, child! I am the mother! My word is LAW!"

Sylvia drew her sword once again and swiftly cut at the bandanna on her mother's head. Everyone's jaws gaped open as they saw the pink cloth fall to the floor. There, on Janice's forehead, was a perfectly formed widow's peak.

"So, Mother... I got all my features from Father, right?"
"This doesn't prove anything! He is still your father!"
"I am not the father of the child. And here is the final proof." Magus produced the two small hairs, the long green one being Sylvia's, the shorter bronze one being Flea's. He approached the girl cautiously, and she stared him in his red eyes as she took the hairs in her hand.

"The one on the left is your own. The one on the right..."
"Is my father's... the thickness... the texture... the root color..."
"And that's not my hair. My hair is one of the few family traits of mine that stay generation after generation, from my mother."
"You lied to me... you lied to me, Mom..."
"Sylvia! It's just a hair! Its nothing!"
"IT'S ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT YOU LIED TO ME! Three times you lied to me about my father! Three men have I hated for no reason! NO MORE! I will not be lied to again!" She yelled, as she turned and prepared to walk away.
"Sylvia, don't you dare leave my side, you are my daughter..."

Sylvia turned and faced her mother, a look of dread on her face.

"Not anymore." She walked away slowly. Janice, shocked, grabbed Sylvia's lengthy hair and pulled her back, but Sylvia responded by swiftly slapping her mother in the face.
"Goodbye, mother..."

She jumped into the air, and disappeared from sight.

"See what you did, Janus? See?"
"I only showed your child the truth. You were the one that lied to her."

Magus turned and walked back over to the Epoch, to join the rest, who were all still staring at Janice.

"You can go now, Janice. Your presence is no longer welcome on my property."

Janice, thoroughly embarrassed, turned and walked away.

* * *

Lucca jumped in the back seat of the Epoch, tired and angry.

"I fixed it, I fueled it, I welded the hood shut. I'm not driving it!"
"Crono, you drive." said Marle, standing in the Epoch. Crono nodded and stood behind her.
"So you guys are finally leaving..."
"So happy to see us go, Magus?" replied Marle, laughing somewhat.
"Maybe..." he said angrily, but he let go and smiled, holding his hand out to Marle, to shake.
"Oh, come on, Magus..." she said, as she pulled him into a friendly embrace. "We're all closer than that."

She gave him a friendly kiss on the cheek which he gladly returned, and they let go. Smiling, Marle gave him a pat on the shoulder and sent him to Crono.

"I wonder what your mother will say when she finds out you can talk..."
"She'll wish he had never started speaking..." said Marle, laughing.
"Meesa speak well! Marle wude."
"Oh shut up, Crono..."

Magus started to shake hands with Crono, who pulled Magus into yet another friendly hug. Magus hesitated, but then allowed himself to be hugged... he certainly didn't want to hug Crono, but he felt obliged... until he pushed Crono away.

"I ain't kissing you."
"Meesa no kiss Magus. Magus no gay, Crono no gay."

Magus laughed some, and moved over to Lucca, who refused to stand. Magus just stood over her and looked at her, her eyes closed, her arms crossed.

"Come on, Lucca... when are you going to realize that I'm not such a bad guy after all?"

Lucca hesitated, but looked at him eventually, and sighed. Standing, she gripped Magus loosely around his waist and gave him a slight hug. He placed his arms carefully on her shoulders, enjoying the short but sweet moment he would be able to hold her... building up his courage somewhat, he kissed her on the cheek, and she returned it, the tiny peck making him feel so warm and comfortable... he glanced over to Marle, who winked at him slyly. Smiling somewhat, Magus let go and looked Lucca in her eyes. She smiled meekly, and then plopped back down in her seat, shutting her eyes.

"Say, where is Spekkio?" asked Marle.
"He's been wandering around my castle, still expecting the end of the world to come... why don't you guys take him with you?"
"No can do. No room, and you remember the rules... if we take more than 3, we end up in the End of Time, no matter whether we're in a gate or the Epoch." said Lucca.
"Isn't that where he has to go anyway?" asked Magus.
"You know, Lucca, he has a point there..." Marle said.
"So go get him. I don't care. As long as I can get home and sleep..."
"I'll go look for him..." said Magus, as he turned and made his way around the side of the castle. Behind him, he could hear Glenn exchanging hugs and laughing with Marle and the rest...

"Hmm... maybe hugs aren't so bad after all..." he said to himself as he made his way around the side of the castle, walking near the bushes, so he didn't get lost in the unfamiliar terrain that was his home... he sighed some, and spotted a slight inconsistency in the color of the bushes...

"Kid?" he asked, realizing why the color was so familiar. There was no real response, only a slight cry coming from within the bushes. Approaching slowly, he noticed that the girl was sitting right under the bush, hidden behind her dark cape.

"What are you still doing around? I thought you left when your mother did..."

The girl didn't speak, she only wiped her nose and continued to cry.

"Are you going to sit there all day?"
"Why'd you have to disprove me?"
"Why couldn't you just play dad? Why'd you have to go and tell me..."
"Would you rather that I lied to you?"
"You were the third father... the third one that my mother told me about..."

He sat there silently, watching her, somehow understanding her. She looked so lonely there, just like him... and fatherless, and as if that wasn't bad enough, her mother wasn't any help either. Just like his.

"You know, I had three fathers also."
"Well, they weren't really fathers, they were more like mentors, or teachers... three old men who were the only male figures that I had around me. They really didn't act like fathers, but I couldn't expect them to..."
"No kidding..."

She paused again and wiped her leaky nose, and then shifted her position...

"What am I doing here? Look at me... just a little twelve-year-old girl, sitting and crying... I'm wasting my time here. I have to go find some cash... a place to stay..."

She stood up and wiped off her clothes, her eyes still red from crying. He couldn't help but feel for her, even though she did try to kill him...

"Sylvia, you know, with everybody leaving and such, it'd get really quiet around here. I mean, there's Glenn, but he's always bound to cause trouble..."
"Why don't you stick around for a while? Maybe stay with me."
"Sure... I'm being way too nice lately, but I can't help it..."
"Would you be my dad?"
"I know you're not my real dad... but maybe you could play as one..."
"If it'll make you feel better, I suppose..."

He took her hand and walked with her toward the front of the castle, where he was bombarded by Spekkio, who was running at him at full speed.

"Magus! Magus! The world isn't going to end! It isn't going to end!"
"Yeah, Spekkio, I kind of figured out when… umm… it didn't…"
"I found the Entity, also… and you'll never believe what it is?"

Spekkio turned and ran back towards the Epoch, where everybody was waiting. Magus began to walk, when Sylvia stopped him.

"I can't go."
"Why not?"
"Because they all hate me… I turned two of them into animals, and I almost killed the one you're in love with…"
"How did you know about that?"
"I was in the closet the whole time…"
"Oh Jesus…"
"They'll yell at me!"
"Don't worry about them, Sylvia… they're very forgiving people. Believe me, I should know."

Magus continued walking, with Sylvia tagging along behind him…

"Magus, you'll never believe who the Entity is." Said Glenn, as Magus arrived.
"Who is the Entity?"
"Remember when Spekkio came running with the car the first time around?"
"Remember how it was packaged?"
"In a box with a note on it."

Magus paused for a second.

"You mean…"
"The box was the Entity!"
"You've got to be kidding me…"
"Everyone, everyone, my master, the Entity, will speak to all of you right now…" said Spekkio, as he placed the box on the ground. The box's top flaps began to wave back and forth, as if they were the box's lips…

"Greetings time warriors. I come bearing news of the Apocalypse."
"Uhh, Mister Entity, wasn't the Apocalypse the name for when Lavos arose?" asked Marle, worriedly.
"I mean the real Apocalypse, when this world will cease to exist."
"Tell us Mister Entity… is there a way to stop it?" asked Lucca.
"I'm afraid not…"
"So will you tell us when it will happen?" asked Magus. There was a long pause, and wind could be heard coming from the box, as it sighed.

"The world will end when the New Kids On The Block make it on Total Request Live."

Everybody stood there, standing in awe that the box. Magus, the only one present who actually knew what Total Request Live was, broke the dreadful silence.

"Uhh, Mister Entity? That happened already, on March 11th, 1999, in the world where the Inter-Dimensional Media Crystal gets its programming from.."
"Oh, really?"
"Yeah. They made it to number 2. It shocked the hell out of me."
"No kidding… okay then, never mind!"

The box started to suddenly turn blue, and a blast of energy shot it straight up into the air… until it disappeared from sight.

"Well well well… crisis averted!"
"Crisis averted? The New Kids On The Block were more evil than I was!"
"Oh… were they anything like those Backstreet folks? I liked them…"
"They're just as evil, Marle…"

And so, with the help of a little television, Crono, Marle, Lucca, and Spekkio could all retire to their native homes worry free, but not before Marle grabbed that extra Media Crystal that Magus brought back from his trip with Lucca…

And Sylvia and Magus became great friends indeed, as close as a father and daughter should be, always there for one another, both trying to keep Glenn from watching the Media Crystal when the Rocky Horror Picture Show was on…

And Flea, unknowing of his daughter, set off into the Imp Underground City, and indeed, found several people to join his band. And through time, they did become relatively famous without the castle knowing it. And his popularity grew when he became known as the great "David Flea Roth" of the band that came to be known as "Man Halen…"

And such is the word of the Storyteller.