He sensed hostility and acted straight away.

They looked like the Ancestral Spirit but they weren't. Their outline was red, a wrong red, red like the status displays on Jeff's machines when they malfunctioned. The same red as Giygas' energy. The thoughts emanating from them were completely garbled, a seething mass of anger and malice. He remembered seeing them before now, in the Lost Underworld, but those ones weren't this powerful. He had suspected they were something to do with Giygas. He had sensed the Star Master's will earlier on. If these entities were threatening his Master...

They must have come in through that portal. It might also be a way out. If it connects to the physical world, he thought, I might be able to use my psychic powers again.

Just as he felt his mind connect with the portal and once again he was able to grasp onto the power all around him, he also sensed that the Evil Elementals were about to use some kind of attack on him. He threw up a psychic shield, then used Starstorm. Raw energy flowed through him and a maelstrom of celestial matter spun out of the portal, striking the Elementals and tearing into the fabric of whatever held them together. Four of them dissolved on the spot. Three others who had been trying to block his exit were thrown back. He saw a flash of something blue and several more of the Elementals were dragged back through the portal. There was a larger battle raging on the other side of the portal. It would serve as a good distraction.

PK TELEPORT! He projected the word with as much strength as he could muster, now augmented by the full force of his considerable psychic potential. When he emerged from the other side of the portal, he realised he could actually see the words, solid objects made of light, in front of him. They became more pronounced, more real. He thought he heard himself shouting out the words.

He couldn't leave quite yet. The spirits of his ancestors were still fighting off the Evil Elementals. It would be ungrateful and disloyal not to help them. If they were defeated, what would happen to Dalaam? He gathered energy for another Starstorm. It came to him more easily the second time. Five more of the Elementals disintegrated. Suddenly, he saw the Star Master standing beside him, his own phenomenal power reinforcing Poo's. It felt like he could channel the entire energy of the sky.

You don't need to stay and help us. We have this under control, a voice promised him.

Are you sure?

We can close the portal now. We won't let anything in or out again.

What if anything else wants to get in? Someone else who is lost?

Do you know of anyone?

Poo tried to think of how best to describe it to the spirit but he couldn't. He gave a mental shrug.

If the time comes, we may have already met again, he said.

Yes, probably. You have to go back now, though. You still have a body. You have a life left to live.

I suppose I do, the idea vaguely amused Poo. A life after a quest to save the Universe, after witnessing his own near total destruction. What was it going to be like?

Seconds later, he fell flat on his face in the most undignified way he could physically manage without his trousers falling down. He looked up to see what looked like the entirety of Dalaam watching him. He shrugged. It was a novel feeling just to be able to see and hear, to move his arms and legs.

When I get there, the voice had said, I just want to feel the ground under my feet and know that its Eaglelandish soil.

"Prince Poo! You're alive! You have no idea how worried I was about you!"

It was Yumi. A beautiful girl with long black hair that she washed every morning in the river under the waterfall where Poo went to practise meditating. She looked especially striking in the pale blue kimono she wore. He saw Noriko, her features a little childish but in a way that just made her endearing; Satsuki, not particularly attractive but fun to sit and talk with; Ito, who made the best rice dishes in Dalaam. He had missed the girls most of all.

"It was very rude of me to keep you all waiting. Please forgive me." he said, bowing.

"Poo, you're not going to go off with all the girls just as we have you back! You have matters of state to attend to! You almost caused a diplomatic incident with Winters!" That was his father, of course.

"Your Highness, please forgive my pupil. He's undergone more than you realise." The Star Master had just finished levitating himself down from the peak of the mountain. "What did you experience, exactly? Tell me, I'm fascinated."

"Star Master, I've decided. I think I would like to train to become Star Master after you. If you'll accept me as a full disciple." he said, bowing even more deeply, "I believe I am destined to become an Ancestral Spirit after my death. It is important that I prepare as soon as possible for that moment."

"Is that so? Well, you shouldn't do so straight away. Such training will take up your entire life and you have duties to Dalaam as a Prince."

"That's why I must produce an heir as soon as possible." reasoned Poo, "So I have to meet girls, don't I, father?"

His father burst out laughing, "Its not as simple as that, son. If you think you can go around saying that in full hearing of all the girls, you definitely need more experience in life."

"Your friends were round asking for you yesterday." commented Yui, "You should tell them you're alive."

"Oh yes! Paula! Ness and Jeff, too!" said Poo, "May I visit them, father?"

"I suppose so." his father smiled, "But be back! No making me worry about you again!"

"I promise." said Poo. Then he ran off. All the crowds were making it dangerous to use PK Teleport.

Dr. Andonuts felt a little disappointed that he wouldn't have a use for his new machine.

He had nothing resembling a working prototype yet. It was to be expected, with such an ambitious project. He was amazed he was making so much progress as it was. The life support systems worked. It was also almost perfectly secure. Jeff threw Multi Bottle Rockets at it, Ness used PK Rockin' Omega on it, Brick Road's new improved Dungeon Man stood on it – nothing so much as scratched it and the simulation program running inside it showed that a hypothetical passenger would be completely unharmed. The only problem was, he couldn't get the damn door to open again. It had decided that opening the door was too big a threat to its imaginary passenger – the outside world was a dangerous place full of threats to their existence. No matter how often he tried – he was running out of resources to build the capsules, even though the prototypes were only as big as hamster balls, causing him to be very annoyed at the Animal Rights Committee for not letting him use actual hamsters – he could not fix this loophole in the programming without making the machine immediately stop protecting itself against all other threats. He was beginning to wonder whether it might be a good idea not to make Brick Road pilot the life-size prototype he was planning to build.

The other big problem was, he couldn't actually replicate the Phase Distorter. All of this was useless unless he could actually fit the capsule inside a Phase Distorter to make it secure enough to carry a living entity safely through space and time. Now there was no need to even use a Phase Distorter. Poo was fine. Pokey had physically gotten inside the Phase Distorter and used it to travel in time, so he was probably dead.

Still, it was best to keep on developing the machine. You never knew what might crop up in the future...