Marmalade cries for minutes on end, realizing that her family was gone forever. Suddenly, she remembers something...

"WAIT! Mom's lullaby! She said that it sometimes makes wishes come true..." says Marmalade. Soon enough, she sings the entire lullaby and sure enough, a sign appears. Out of nowhere, a strange portal emerges before her as a godly voice speaks.

"Child, where is your mother?" asked the demeaning voice. "She's... she's gone. I'm all alone. who are you, mister?" said Marmalade with hope in her eyes. "Child, I ask you... who taught you the secret ritual?" asked the strange voice. "Mother.. well, she said it was a song or something but..." said Marmalade as she starts to weep once more.

The voice changes to a softer tone and says "Ohhh... I see. I see! Child, your mother... She'll be remembered. I promise you... but still, it isn't safe where you're at. Your world is destined to fall, I'm afraid." says the mysterious voice. "Then what should we do, mister?" asked Marmalade as she wipes away a tear from her cheek. "I believe the best course of action is to prevent the disaster and stop this from happening." it said with a determined mood.

"But how can we? The robot will kill everyone and... I don't know what to do now!" she says as she starts crying again. "Come now, my dear, we have much to do!" said the voice. "I will guide you on a mission and hopefully bring your family back!" Marmalade weeps in confusion and finally agrees, having no choice after her traumatic escape. "OK, mister... will Mommy and Daddy come back?" asked Marms.

"My dear, with hope, miracles can happen!" it said. "Then... *sniff* let's do it!" she says as she enters the portal. "Good, now... we got a world to save!" said the voice. As Marmalade enters the portal, it disappears into a flash of light.

As she warps out the portal, Marmalade enters through a gusty vortex, surrounded by walls of dark matter. She shivers in fear and murmurs "Mister voice?"

"Over here. This way!" yelled a female voice. Marmalade hears it and flies after it. The rough winds of the vortex distort her flight but she continues onward nonetheless. Reaching closer to the sound, she spots a bright light.

Without hesitation, she flies her hardest and reaches the bright light by inches. An arm appears and pulls her in! "W-WOAH!" grunts Marmalade as the arm pulls her into the luminous portal.

Having felt like an hour, Marmalade wakes up in a foggy room, filled with grey mist and pictures of ghostly people. Then a silhoutte appears in delight at a nearby entrance and says "Oh good! You're awake!"

As it floats closer, Marmalade begins to recognize the figure. "Mommy?" says Marmalade. "CLOSE ENOUGH! Her sister, in other words, Aunt Cierra! In the flesh!" said the cheerful lady. "Aunt Cierra?! What are you doing here?! I need to tell you-!" Before Marms could finish, Cierra puts her hand on her mouth and says "Oh honey! You must be worried sick! I know some good refreshments that can-!" Marmalade shoves her arm away and yells "No Auntie, listen! Mommy and Daddy! They're gone!"

"I know, honey! I know! Which is why me and Granpappy brought you here!" said Cierra. Marmalade is shocked and confused without any comment. "Now come, let us have tea." she said as she carries Marms with her to the next room.

While going through a series of rooms and hallways, Aunt Cierra discusses her pastime with Marmalade.

"When your grumpy mommy and her handsome son-of-a-Gumball husband of her's got hitched, I went back to your granpappy and stayed with him. After some of his wicked voodoo one fine and dandy evening, we ended up in this spooky hacienda of a dimension! How do you like them apples?" "We can still go back to the real world and Elmore and all, but with that shiny bazooka flying around killing peeps, Granpappy wouldn't take the risk despite my love for chills and thrills!" "One of these days, I wanna yippy-ki-yay that flying tin can for slaying my sister and getting away with it, I tell you!"
Astonished by her big mouthed aunt, Marmalade simply responds "S-sure, Auntie..."

They end up in a large white corridor filled with cabinets, a small kitchen, a large table with fancy chairs and a shiny black television screen. Cierra sets her niece on one of the chairs and says "Be right back, honey! Lemme get the treats!" Marmalade chuckles nervously as she observes the room in confusion.

"Green ghoul tea and baked biscuits on the house, dearie!" says Cierra with her tray of delights. Marmalade grabs a biscuit, a cup of tea and says "T-thanks, Auntie." "Good, good! Your Granpappy should be here any minute now! Is there anything else you want, my little Marmsie?" asked Cierra. Marmalade gives in and asks "Auntie, can I ask you something?" "Sure! What's shaking, bacon?" her delighted aunt responded.

"How long am I gonna stay here?" asked Marmalade. Her aunt gave her a worried look and says "OOOH BOY... how long you say, Marmalay? I hope you aren't planning any dates or debates but you're gonna have to be here... for a while. Years at the most."
"WHAT?! But what about-?!" yelled Marms before she interrupts again.
"CHILLAX, GIRL! Me and your old geezer of a grandaddy are gonna solve da case and bring in end to this mecha-madness with YOUR HELP! And a certain someone as well." spouted Cierra with determination.

"Duly noted." said a deep ghastly voice. "Hey, Daddio! You're just in time! Our sugar dumpling's saying the craziest things!" said Cierra as she pats Marmalade on the head. "Welcome, child. Welcome to your new home." said the elderly ghost, wearing a black robe with a pipe in his hand. "Grandad Illusius!" screamed Marmalade as she flies off her chair to hug her grandfather.

The two ghosts give a warm hug as Cierra watches in delight, responding "Oh, how precious..." She floats to them, join their moment and says "Group hug!" Soon enough, Marmalade wipes away a tear and asks "Grandad, where are we?"

"We are at our super secret Booregard Hideout, my dear. It is, how you say, kinky, no?" said Illusius. Marmalade giggles and says "Yeah..." "Come, let's discuss this at the table, children." The three ghosts hover to the large table and discuss their current family crisis.

"... so then, where's Aunts Haley and Bella?" asked Marmalade. Illusius gives a sad look and responds "I sent them a message but they didn't respond back. I fear the worst." "And where's Grammy Mirabelle?" asked Marmalade once more. Illusius and Cierra look at one another sadly as Illusius gives a deep sigh and says "She's... gone. Rest in peace, her dear soul." Tears form in Marmalade's eyes as Aunt Cierra floats to her side and begins to comfort her. "Oh, honey... hush, hush. We'll all meet her soon."

After a few sad minutes, Marmalade finally pulls herself together and questions "Where do we go from here, then?"

"I have a plan but it needs some time and patience. We need to prepare for this last ditch effort in order to hopefully save our family, the world and possibly time as we know it. I will train you to go on this secret assignment, brave the darkest of obstacles and embrace the power of the spirit inside us all." says Illusius with a confident tone in his voice.
Cierra giggles and whispers to Marmalade's ear, saying "What a crazy old man."

"Ahem. But yes, this will be risky. Now, what I want to know is... are you in, my dear Marmalade?" asked Illusius to his granddaughter. Marms hollers out and says "Of course! For family!"

Illusius says "Of course. For family!" Cierra joins and cheers "FOR FAMILY!" The three ghosts fly to each other, join hands and cheer in a triumphant breath, "FOR FAMILY!"

TO BE CONTINUED