The Foust Chronicles: The Backseat of Fire

The Foust Chronicles: The Backseat of Fire

By SF_THRAWN

(This takes place three weeks after The Red Pyramid Scheme, and during the events of The Titan’s Curse Word.)

Prologue

  By- Arthur Foust.

It’s been some time, well, not really. I’m just saying that because I think that it sounded cool. Before this story begins I need to tell you the context. After Mr. Malifer took to his power he started to mold the school into his perfect vision. He and the council made sure that the regular curriculum that we were doing would work at a more effective rate. What that meant for us was our classes were now shorter with double the amount of work. Thankfully, though Mr. Allan and Ms. Lauper offered Sopia, Alexander and I private lessons which we eagerly took. 

Other kids weren’t so lucky. More rooms for detention had to open up because of the amount of kids not getting their work done. (I heard rumors that some people got expelled.) But poor Mr. Gates was on the butt-end of it all. After Mr. Malifer got a chokehold on power he quickly warmed up to the most important group of them all, The PSA. (Parent-Student Alliance) his plays on this group would make Bill Belichick blush. First he would scout out students who swore to support him and make him look good and then he would film their vocal support for him which in turn made the parents trust him even more which led to a lack of support in Mr. Gates. You also shouldn’t worry about the pantheon because it’s also in shambles. The decision to bring back Ra was not as unanimous as you may have thought. Apparently way-back-when Ra was the leader many things happened that lead to the pantheon eventually splitting up. It’s kinda sad because he can’t defend himself against their verbal assaults and only Dr. Foust- my Father- can.

Speaking of Dad, he also hasn’t been doing very well. I mean at the school, his crowdfunding campaign for the hungry and starving has been a miracle for his public image and small ego. But that’s not why he isn’t doing very well, since the reclamation of Orisiris he has had to defend Mr. Gates plans to bring back Ra along with grading essays on the fall of the Assyrian empire. He is bogged down with his job and the Malifer situation. Speaking of Malifer(s), Nina has been fairly quiet. Alex and I firmly believe that she isn’t allowed to speak to us but Sopia is convinced that she just wanted nothing to do with us and is now using this as an opportunity to not talk with us for as long as she possibly can. What Sopia doesn’t know though is that we have been able to talk to her. She says that “Nephthys” is being forced to tutor her on the ways of properly using power to her advantage and how to memorise school marks so you know where you are at all times.

I know that is a lot to take in so I will shorten it down: Things aren’t looking so good at The Carter Institution…

The New Hope

  By- Sopia Foust

Now that I think about it, I have been in Bobby’s limo a lot. Because of my new living arrangements with Dr. Foust I have had to take it to and from school to get back to the apartment in Manhattan. (It’s pretty nice) We started to cross the Brooklyn bridge to get into Dumbo. I slid closer to the window to try and get a look at the sunrise

“It’s not going to come up for another 45 minutes.” Alexander informed me.

Ms. Lauper pulled out her phone and presumably checked this.

“You’re-” she paused, “Not wrong. Who has been training you?”

“I h-have.” Bobby told her from the front seat.

“A disciple of Anubus then?” Her IrisIs asked

“I prefer avatar but yeah.” His Walt answered.

I pulled myself away from their conversation and looked back out, the dim lights of the school were visible from the bridge.

[A FEW MORE MINUTES LATER]

We walked up the steps and into the dark and empty atrium.

“Will someone please explain what we’re doing?” Arthur asked.

“You will find out soon enough.” Mr. Allan told him as he walked past the statues and up the steps. Bobby, Ms. Lauper and Dr. Foust followed him.

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that even they don’t know what we are doing.” I sarcastically told Alex and Arthur.

“Hardy-har.” Arthur fake laughed as he walked past the statues and up the steps.

Alexander and I proceeded to follow them around the building until we got to a set of steel doors. The words “Principal’s office” were above them. Mr. Allan was going to press the button next to the doors when he started to hesitate. Dr. Foust grabbed his hand and forced him to press it. Mr. Allan looked up at him and Dr. Foust looked back. They seemed to share a silent conversation that ended in a draw. The doors slid open and we walked into the secret elevator. 

While we were riding up my mind began to wander to other places. After Mr. Malifers hostile takeover Ms. Lauper started to tutor me on more things than just the usual curriculum. She showed me how to do things that I didn’t even know I was capable of doing; for example she showed me how to see someone’s weakness and take advantage of it along with basic fighting moves. 

Now dear reader you may be asking “But are you sure this actually works?” and to that I say “Hold on to your socks because they might be blown.”

I proved this to be something that I can do by defeating Set with it, again. I walked into the original detention room and right off the bat Gravely and Mechanised knew that I was there for them. 

“Hey pal, we don’t want any trouble.” Gravely told me while Mechanised just set his head on the desk.

“Shut it. Also, what’s with tweedle-dee?” I pointed to Mechanised.

“PAUL PETITT had a rough day.” He informed me.

“Ok, I now have some questions for you since I know that you can answer.” I told him.

“Oh, I also had a bad day.” He said as he started to rest on the desk.

I grabbed his hair and forced him up. 

“Not an option. Now answer me this, what is The Great Lie?” I asked expecting a stupid answer. What I got though was a lot stranger.

“The Great Lie is the suppression of knowledge that there are others like us.” He told me outright.

“Others like us?”

He pulled out his Set puppet and repeated himself.

“Others like us.”

“Psst… PSST!” Arthur hissed at me, snapping me out of my self induced flashback. “We are here.”

I walked out of the elevator and looked around. The focal point of the room was a dark hallway, next to it was a desk with a chair on top of it. A dusty sign was on it; ‘Secretary’.

“This place, it’s sorta sad.” I spoke up.

“It hasn’t seen action in months. Usually all punishments are dealt out where the action happened.” Dr. Foust said.

Mr. Allan walked over to a nearby light switch and flicked it on. The dark hallway slowly started to light up. He turned around and gestured to us to follow him. 

“Cmon, we oughta get going.” He said as he started to walk down the hall.

The first part of the hall was full of unorganised files that were stacked/organised randomly.

“The-e era wh-hen Mr. Bogga-ard was the sec-cretary.” Bobby informed us.

We walked past it to another section. This one was more in order but it was organised by color.

“Sorry. This part was me.” Ms. Lauper admitted.

The next, and final, part of the hall only had files from the start of the school. Like, the VERY start.

“What happened here?” Alex asked.

“Creation, literally, this entire part is the inception of the school.” Dr. Foust told us.

“Is it noteworthy?” Arthur asked.

“Yes. Very much so.” Dr. Foust said as he walked to the door at the very end of the hall. He turned the knob and swung it open; revealing the actual principal’s office.

The New Hope (Pt.2)

  By- Arthur Foust

We walked into the office. On the left wall was a replica of a stone mace-head and on the right wall was a plank of wood that was clearly bought from Lowes but it had a plaque below it that read ‘piece of the ship of Theseus.’ 

“Oh, hey guys.” Mr. Gates said. “Are you here for the briefing?”

“What briefing?” Alex asked.

“The slayers of Set have a new mission.” Ms. Lauper told us.

“Your new job is to acquire the material that Ra is to be made out of.” Mr. Allan told us.

“It’s going to be hard but I have faith in you all.” Mr. Gates said as he stood up. “Are you all in?”

“Yeah.” Alex and I said. We looked over to Sopia who had not said anything.

“I thought we were going to put this Egyptian god puppet stuff behind us once we were done with Set.” Sopia pointed out.

“You get to skip school.” I told her.

“I’m in.” Sopia said. “What’s the deal and how can we improvise?”

“That was, jeez, that was very quick.” Mr. Allan said.

“BACK TO THE POINT! You three have a job to do and I am the only person who can show you where to go.” Mr. Gates said as he got up and walked over to a black board that was folded in on itself. “This is very critical to your mission so remember it well.”

He unfolded it and showed us a piece of paper that was made out of lined paper, maps and parts of menus. Drawn over the patchwork was a make-shift map that led to a place in rural New York called Madison. 

“This is where it all started.” Mr. Gates said as he pointed to the map. “This is where the idea for the gods formed sometime in the 90’s. Your job is simple, you three plus Bobby and one other will go here in order to retrieve the paper needed to make Ra.”

“If I may ask, why must we go to Madison instead of, say, the printer?” Alexander asked.

“The printer doesn’t have papyrus. Madison does.” Mr. Allan told him.

“Better question, why papyrus?” Sopia asked.

“There are rules that us gods have put in place for ourselves. Two of the most important are that we must have a full puppet in order to guide people and in order for us to make a new one we need all the parts of the old one. But you see, there is a third one that Ra must follow and it is that it has to be papyrus in order to uphold the spirit of Egypt.” Mr. Gates explained.

“Sorta stupid but ok.” She retorted.

“Also. Ms. Lauper and I will be in contact with Arthur and Sopia in order to advise them on problems that may arise as well as potentially give updates on the state of the school.” Mr. Allan said.

“One more thing.” Ms. Lauper told us. “We have a feeling that you all aren’t going to be alone out there.”

“Wha-” Arthur started.

“We took the liberty of making disguises for you all just in case we are right.” Dr. Foust said, cutting him off.

Dr. Foust then revealed several briefcases that were stacked in the corner. He then pulled out a baggie that had several tarot cards in it. He pulled one out and handed it to Bobby, Sopia, Alex and I. Five more were still left in the bag. I flipped mine over and looked at it, ‘The Star’. Alex was ‘The Hermit’. Sopia was ‘The Magician’. Bobby was ‘The Chariot’. The five that were left in the bag were ‘Strength’, ‘The Tower’, ‘The Fool’ and two copies of ‘The Sun’. On one copy the image was completely blank and on the back of the other was an image of The Earth presumably taken from a satellite.

“These are your code names. If you feel that you are not alone then I urge you all to refer to the others as the card name that you have picked.” Ms. Lauper told us.

Apparently something clicked for Sopia because her eyes started to get very large.

“That is all. I now urge you all to start this journey.” Mr. Gates said, handing us our new briefcases and ushering us out the door.

An Unwanted Encounter

  By- Sopia Foust.

I was reeling on the way to the limo. They kept on bringing up the fact that we would not be alone and judging on the way the others didn’t react I was the only one who presumably knew what they were talking about. We were about to pass the dog-headed statues when I spotted a name on a nearby locker, Paul Petitt. I grabbed a sheet of paper off the floor and quickly wrote my number on it then I shoved it into his locker.

“What was that about?” Arthur asked when I got back.

“I thought I saw something.” I told him.

“Were you planning on stealing it?” He asked

“You know me so well.” I told him.

This conversation didn’t end up lasting long because we ended up running into the backs of Bobby and Alex.

“What’s the hold up?” I asked.

Bobby didn’t answer but Alex pointed at the figures that were standing in the atrium. It was Mr. Malifer and Nina Malifer. Mr. Malifer didn’t care to acknowledge us, he simply started to walk up the stairs, knocking into Bobby, then passing us. 

“This is-sn’t what it lo-ooks like. The pa-antheon has not-thing to do w-with this.” Bobby said blankly.

We didn’t see him but we could hear Mr. Malifer stop and pivot ever-so-slightly. 

“Is that so?” He said as he turned back and walked off, not giving Bobby a chance to respond.

We continued down the steps, not wanting any further commotion. When we passed Nina she gave us a sympathetic look. Shen then lunged at Arthur, wrapping herself around him for a brief second then letting go and running off. I tried to give him a nauseating stink eye but he was paying very close attention to the floor. 

We walked out to the sidewalk and waited for Bobby to go and get the limo. When he did finally return we saw a pretty strange site. Inside, a small man was snacking on peanuts in one of the backseats. His appearance was pretty when his face was in the shadows but when he leaned forward into the light he got a lot uglier. The bridge of his nose was turned a dozen different ways and his eyes weren’t very symmetrical. His cheeks made him look like an over-cooked tater tot and his mouth, well, compared to everything else it was pretty tame. 

“Blase de Morgan, proud to be your acquaintance.” He said, introducing himself.

Bobby proceeded to stick his hand out of the front seat booth and into the back seat. In it was a tarot card from the bag. Blase was ‘The Fool’.

“P-please take-e a seat-t. We w-will be le-eaving soon.” He said.

A Message From Nina Malifer.

  By- Nina Malifer.

  (transcribed by Arthur Foust and inserted by Sopia Foust)

Mr. Malifer: -Brats.

Nina: Yeah.

Mr. Malifer: But let’s forget about them. *opens a door* Come on, I got some people I want you to meet.

*Nina and Mr. Malifer walk into room*

Nina: *audible gasp.*

Unknown #1: Oh come on, I’m not that ugly.

Unknown #2: You are that ugly.

*Mr. Malifer walks to the phone and dials someone up.*

Unknown #3: He- Hello?

Mr. Malifer: Night Owl, you’re on speaker phone.

Night Owl: Alright, is Ernesto Schiaparelli and Mariette Auguste there?

Mariette: Yes.

Ernesto: Yes.

Mr. Malifer: We may now begin this meeting. Ernesto and Mariette, this is your mission. The Fousts have left on a mission given to them by presumably the pantheon. What they are going to do is unknown but I know that it won’t be good. I need you three as your, and I can’t believe that I am saying this, Godly personas to follow them. If you need to engage in combat I recommend that you cut corners and finish the fight quickly. Now go.

*Ernesto and Mariette leave.*

Night Owl: What of me?

Mr. Malifer: You are the closest location to the school. It would make the most sense for the Fousts to head to you. Once they do, gather what info you can during their stay. Then when Ernesto and Mariette get to your location you must tell them what you have learned.

Night Owl: Ok, sure… *Hangs up.*

Mr. Malifer: I would recommend you get to class. Speaking of class, how has Ms. Kenyon been tutoring you?

Nina: It’s been fine. And by Tutoring do you mean combat training and remembering the schools hallways? Because if you do then it’s also fine. 

Mr. Malifer: Good… Just so we’re clear here, I’m the good guy. Yeah, I’m the good guy… 

*Nina slowly leaves the room.*

Nina: *into the mic.* Arthur, this message is to you, people are going to be following you on your trip. I don’t know where you are going but you need to get your mission done quickly. I also don’t know who Night Owl is but he sounds like the linch-pin of my fathers plan. All I ask is that you are careful and wary.

*recording stops.*

Where we are going; we need roads.

  By- Arthur Foust.

“We-e have en-ntered T-Tarrytow-wn.” Bobby announced as I pulled the phone away from me. Nina’s recording was pretty hazy but the message was clear, we were being followed.

“Mhnm.” Blase acknowledged, he still sat in the shadow of the limo away from us.

“Hey Bobby, can you tell us what exactly to expect when we get to Madison?” Alex asked.

“I’m s-sure the other-r adult c-can answ-wer t-that.” Bobby responded.

Alex sat back in his seat.

“Sorry Mr. de Morgan.” Alex apologised.

“There is nothing to be sorry for. But please don’t call me Mr. de Morgan, that is my father. Instead please call me Blase or Coach. But when we get into a situation when we need to use the taron titles, I go by The Fool.” Blase said.

“So Blase, what can you tell us about Madison?” I asked.

“It’s been some time but what I do remember is the Churros at discount prices.” he chuckled, “In all honesty, I only remember one place. It was called Quikpik.”

“Quikpik? You talk about it like it’s a magical place but I had one back in Italy.” Sopia spoke up.

“Well this one is magical. Now I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that yours had the regular Lays, Twinkies and Pork-rinds. But this one doesn’t have any of that, this one is more of a catch all. You see, they got records, so-so paper products and a really good music selection. Its uniqueness is what makes it magical.” Blase explained.

“Can you explain more about the paper products?” I asked.

“Sure, why not. Now some might say that they were cursed or imbued with power but I know the truth.” He started. “All they do is just make the user more of themselves. Say, if you have a very righteous side that you hide from the world and then you get this puppet that has these character traits that line up with who you really are.”

He stopped suddenly, his outline took a deep breath and slowly exhaled.

“I think you understand. Arthur, you are being taught to give others hope. Sopia, You are being taught to see people’s weaknesses. Alexander, you are being taught to protect the weak.” He continued, “These skills plus your puppets will make you real heroes.”

I wanted to counter this claim and tell him that this was just a two time thing but deep down I knew that he was right.

“We-e have ent-tered Sle-epy Hol-llow.” Bobby said from the front seat.

Another Message From Nina Malifer

  By- Nina Malifer.

  (transcribed by Arthur Foust and inserted by Sopia Foust)

*some sliding and shuffling.*

Mr. Malifer: Hello? Is this the office of Educational Projects Co?

Unknown: Yes! How can we assist you today?

Mr. Malifer: I was wondering if you still had the advanced problems on popular historical incidents test?

Educational Projects Co: Erm, I hate to disappoint but it was discontinued after the “Italic Insanity” incident back in the 90’s. (Arthur’s note: We don’t know if they actually said Italics.)

Mr. Malifer: Understood, but, correct me if I’m wrong, wasn’t there a revised version made that removed the questions that caused the “Italic Insanity”?

Educational Projects Co: That would be version #2. Would you like that instead?

Mr. Malifer: Yes.

Educational Projects Co: What is your school’s name?

Mr. Malifer: The Carter Institute.

*some sliding and shuffling.*

*shoes tap as Nina runs.*

*Two people are chatting. They start to get louder as Nina approaches them.*

Mr. Allan: Can I help you?

Nina *out of breath*: Malifer, test, insanity.

Ms. Lauper: Come again?

Nina *louder*: MALIFER, TEST, INSANITY.

*they presumably look at each other.*

Mr. Allan and Ms. Lauper: Understood.

No Horse Men To Be Seen

  By- Sopia Foust

The time was roughly 11:30 am. Bobby had been driving for some time and Alex, Arthur and Blase were starting to go a little stir crazy.

“Hey Bobby,” I said “I think we should stop.”

He glanced into the rearview mirror and saw Alex and Arthur’s condition. Before we knew it we were at a scenic park. The sound of gentle waves from the Hudson washing onto the rock faces filled my ears as I looked at the fog-kissed town of Sleepy Hollow. It is a pretty pleasant place as long as you ignore the goths, ‘witches’ and unsettling statues of The Headless Horseman. (I counted 15 in total.) 

“Hey! Sopia! Pick up your phone!” Arthur yelled at me.

I dug around my pockets and pulled out my phone. ‘Ms. Lauper.’ the caller ID read.

“Hello?” I said.

“Hello Sopia. I have an update from the school. Would you care to hear?” Ms. Lauper asked.

“Yes please.” I answered.

“Nina ran up to me and Mr. Allan earlier in the hour. Through her exhaustion she managed to get out three words that sparked worry in us. They were Malifer, Test and Insanity. I don’t know what they could mean but I would recommend trying to hurry up with the progress of your mission. Speaking of which, how is it going?” She said.

“It’s going pretty good. We decided to stop in Sleepy Hollow so we could stretch our legs.”

“Sleepy Hollow?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Tell Bobby ‘Blank Sun’. He should get it.” She said and then hung up.

I walked over to Arthur.

“What did Mr. Allan tell you?” I asked.

“Something about Nina and a ‘Blank Sun’” He responded.

“Ms. Lauper told me something along the same lines.” I told him.

We then went over to Bobby who was massaging his hands.

“Bobby, there is something you need to know.” Arthur announced to him.

“B-Blank Sun?” He asked.

“How did you know?” I asked back.

“W-we’re in Sl-leepy Hollow. We’re i-in his dom-main.” He said while he produced another tarot card. This one was The Sun with no image on it. 

“Ge-et back t-to the Lim-mo!” He announced.

Once we climbed in and started to move he spoke.

“I wan-nt you al-ll to answer-r me-thi-is. What-t is vis-sible when t-the sun is-sn’t out?” He said.

“The Moon?” Alex hesitantly answered.

“C-correct! Blase, w-who did yo-ou know in Mi-iddle school that h-had a special relat-tionship to the moon?” He asked.

“Ramesses Lunné? By the way, do you know what even happened to him?” Blase asked.

Bobby stopped the car and got out. We followed suit, realising that we had apparently got somewhere in that short a time.

“He-e made it-t big. Welc-come to The-e Sleepy H-hollow Museum Dedicated-d to The Nig-ght; owned and c-curated by Ramesses Lunné-é” Bobby said.

The Sleepy Hollow Museum Dedicated to The Night.

  By- Arthur Foust

The ‘museum’ had two layers and a walkway. The first layer looked like the temple of Khonshu at Karnak, Egypt. In the built-in indents on the front facing wall, instead of the regular god statues, where two steel werewolf statues. But the top half made me question if it was truly a museum or an observatory; the top was a dome that was partially open and facing left, its telescope was jutting out. A gravel path extended out from the ticket booth. In the middle of the path, closest to us was (you guessed it) another statue of the Headless Horseman.

“Man, you weren’t kidding, he really did make it big.” Blase said.

“O-ok people, from h-here on out-t we ref-fer to eac-ch other as-s are tarot-t names.” Bobby said, “Now-w roll cal-ll.”

“The Star.” I responded.

“The Hermit.” Alexander responded.

“The Magician.” Sopia responded.

“I got this! I remember this one!” Blase yelled out.

“The Fool.” Me and Sopia whispered to him.

“The Fool.” he responded, his confidence not faltering, “Told you all that I knew it.”

“And-d I am T-the Chariot.” Bobby finished. “Alexander, remember our training.”

Alex looked at Bobby and nodded.

After we did the roll call we approached the ticket booth. The woman inside seemed pretty happy to see us even though our party had never met her.

“How nice it is to finally meet you all! The boss has talked about all of you so much!” She chirped. 

“He- he has?” I asked.

“Oh yes! He probably wants to see you all.” She then looked at Blase. 

“He definitely wants to see you.” she said, sounding more disgusted.

She then got up and walked out of the ticket booth to meet us, another woman appeared and took her place. 

“Please follow me.” She said while entering the museum.

She then led us through several exhibits. They were “How the eyes perceive light”, “Famous monsters in popular culture”, “The moon landings” and finally “How ancient civilisation perceived the moon”.  Above that sign was a large light that shined on us. Then the silhouette of a man appeared and blocked some of the light, casting a shadow onto us.

“Bring ’em up, Luna.” the woman’s radio crackled out.

“Please, follow me.” She said, continuing further into the museum.

We Were Brought Up.

  By- Sopia Foust

“Here we are!” she chirped, “Mr. Lunné’s office. Please go in, he should be waiting.”

She then opened the door to his office, making me face the two most muscular men I have seen in my life.

“Waxing and Waining please wait outside.” someone behind them said. 

As soon as they walked out we got a good look at just who exactly was in charge. He soared over Bobby and Blase. His height was further highlighted by the tattoos on his scrawny torso that he presented to us. On his left shoulder was a star that seemed to be falling while on the center of his back was a disc that seemed to be shinier than the rest of his pale skin. He then turned around to face us and we were faced with more tattoos. In the middle of his chest was an *oval filled with hieroglyphs and several tally marks surrounding it. (Arthur’s comment: *Shen ring) 

“Sorry, I thought it was just going to be Bobby and Blase.” he said while reaching for a cloth shirt. “Who are the rest of you?”

“I’m So-” I started “The Magician.”

A smile then crept across his face.

“Codenames. Nice.” he said as he finished putting the shirt on. “How about the other two?”

“I’m The Hermit.” Alex answered him.

“I’m The Star.” Arthur followed suit.

“Is that everyone?” He asked.

“You would be correct  Night Owl.” Blase said, a witty tone ringed in his words.

Arthur perked up at this.

“E-Everything ok-k Star?” Bobby asked.

“No, Mr. Lunné here is working with Mr. Malifer.” Arthur answered.

When Arthur said this Mr. Lunné’s shoulders slumped a little.

“I was wondering if Nina was in that room… I’m going to assume that she recorded that conversation?” Mr. Lunné asked.

“Yeah, she did.” He said.

“Well then, you already mentioned the cat. Now let it out of the bag.” He said, his words sounding more harsh then when we first met him.

“Ok then, Mr. Malifer has asked two people to follow us on our trip in order to stop us at all costs. It was Mr. Lunné’s job to gather all the information that he could while we were here so he could report it back to the people following us.” Arthur explained.

“Wow, Star, you really are smart! But there were a few things you missed. Such as the names of the people following you all. So for future reference when you all eventually meet make sure to be extra respectful to Ernesto Schiaparelli and Mariette Auguste. Or as they will probably prefer; Sodesk and Neckbet.”

“So what does that make you?” I asked.

“Isn’t it painfully obvious? I’m *@$(!)& Khonshoe!” he yelled “And you’re in my domain! As far as I’m concerned, your journey stops here!”

“N-No, we will-l bea-at you!” Bobby yelled back.

“Oh poor Bobby. When was the last time you fought anything? Was it during that dance in middle school when you were trying to get the attention of Annabeth… or was it Ashely? Oh! I know! It was in Topeka when you were yelling at the judge that you were innocent!” He cackled.

Bobby took a shocked step back.

“I-I…” He mumbled.

“Wasn’t that the day that you developed your stutter? You were so broken and disheveled after you lost your job as a bus driver all because some bratty high schooler said that you did something you didn’t do. So no, I don’t think you will beat me.” He finished.

Bobby was now on the floor, twitching while awful memories presumably flooded his mind.

“How do you know so much?” Arthur asked.

“It’s simple Arthur, real simple. Your father, Dr. Foust, is incredibly famous and the fifth richest man in the world. That makes it easy for his old friends to see what he has been up to. But I don’t just want to see his Facebook status, I want to see everything. So I just gotta dig and dig until I hit gold.” When he said gold he pointed to Bobby.

“You knew our names the entire time?” I asked.

“Yeah, the code names where kinda stupid.” he said “So how about we all act like natural humans and make a deal.”

“What are your terms?” Blase spoke up.

“So glad you asked. Blase, as I’m sure you remember, you would constantly berate me every single day. So I feel that it’s fair that I get to watch Waxing and Waning beat the ever-living snot out of you and in exchange I tell Ernesto Schiaparelli and Mariette Auguste that we just had tea.”

Bobby perked up a little at the mention of the names. He then reached into his coat and pulled out the baggie with the tarot cards. Why he didn’t do this earlier is still unknown to this day.

“Stre-ength and The T-Tower.” He mumbled.

Mr. Lunné looked over to Bobby and at the bag where the last card was visible.

“The Sun? The Sun.” he said, suddenly understanding our mission. “Ra.”

The room got very silent.

“The deal has changed. Waxing and Waning will hold you down while I beat you and Ernesto Schiaparelli and Mariette Auguste get vague clues about where you are going assuming that you are heading to where the pantheon got its start.”

“Why would we ever agree to that you stalker?!” Alex yelled at Mr. Lunné.

“I’ll do it.” Blase said before anyone could get another word in.

“Blase you can’t be serious.” Alex said.

“It’s for the good of the school.” He said as he started to usher us out the door.

Once Arthur and I were outside with Bobby in front of us we quickly walked to the limo.

“Hey Arthur. I need to tell you something. It’s about Madison.” I said.

“Yeah?”

“I don’t think that The Carter Institute is the only school with origami gods.”

“Do you have any evidence?”

“Do you remember Set saying something about ‘The Great Lie’?”

“It was something along those lines but yeah.”

“Well, I asked them and they told me that we are not alone. Now, I’m taking this with a grain of salt because we have been on opposing sides in the past but I feel that they are telling the truth. I also gave one of them my number so I could ask them more when they call.”

“I need a little more than that but giving them your number was pretty smart.” He said as he opened the back door.

“Ok, when Ms. Lauper told us the reason for the nicknames. We assumed that it was for other origami egyptian gods, right? Well what if it wasn’t? 

“Yeah. Ok, how about this, when they call you I also ask some questions because I’m sure that the deeper I look the more ‘evidence’ I might find that would support your theory.”

“Deal.” I said.

After I finished agreeing my phone started to ring. “Unknown” was calling.

“Answer it.” Arthur encouraged.

The Unknown.

  By- Arthur Foust

“Hello?” The caller asked, his voice mechanical in nature. 

“Paul, it’s me, Sopia. You’re on speaker phone.” Sopia said.

“Ugh, Giovanni Belzoni! It’s for you!” He yelled out.

The line was silent for a while until we heard some running and some muffled conversation.

“Dude, for the final time just call me Gio! No last names or full names! Just Gio!” He said to Paul.

“Whatever. Just take the phone, it’s Sopia.” Paul told Gio.

“Heyyy.” Gio said, he was a little louder so presumably it was just him and not on speaker.

“Sup.” I said coldly.

“Oh. I’m on speaker. got it.” his voice got more dull.

“Sorry, we just have a few questions we want to ask. It’s about The Great Lie.” Sopia spoke up.

“What do you two want to know? I’m an open book.” Gio said.

“Where were you before The Carter Institute?” I asked.

“Some place up in Athens. Paul was there as well. It was really childish if I am to be honest. Like, gold stars levels of childish.” He answered.

“Athens? Like Georgia?” Sopia asked.

“No, New York. It’s right next to Madison. I honestly wouldn’t blame you if you got the two confused for the other, that’s how close they are.” He said.

“Was there anything at this school that made you two become Set? Like, say, origami gods?” Sopia asked.

“Now you’re asking the important questions. Yeah, there were.” He started.

I looked at Sopia and Sopia stared back at me. 

“But if you are heading up there for some mission this is what you need to know. Mrs. Kemp is off her [REDACTED] rocker, Debby Don’s Dance Dojo is roughly the best place in the universe and Mr. Emily’s kid is an awful scam artist so never give him any money no matter what he says or claims to know/have.”

“Please, more about the gods.” Sopia asked, practically pleading.

“Ok, I’m going to give it to you shortly, all this info is based on what I believe you need to know. Mrs. Kemp is Zeus and the reason that she is off her rocker is because she has gone mad with power. She also has a daughter who has a puppet. I only talked to her once but from that interaction I can tell you that she is pretty chill. But if you want to fly under the radar then I wouldn’t talk to her, or anyone for that matter. The next two are the only ones who you should really be worried about meeting and talking to because they could easily bust your identity and reveal the fact that they aren’t alone to others. The first is Mr. Merrick, he was the Hermes of the pantheon and if you slip up about anything important he might spread the word to anyone who cares. The next and final one is Vicky Manief, she is a threat to you all because she would do anything for clicks on his garbage articles.”

“Thanks for all of this, Gio.” I told him.

“You got it Arthur. Happy trails.” he said, “Now can you take me off the speakerphone?”

Sopia did so and leaned back, presumably still talking to Gio. I turned to look out the window only to be faced with Alexander and a really beat up Blase.

Wine Mom? No, Gin Chauffeur.

  By- Sopia Foust

The rest of the call was Gio trying to be slick so when Blase and Alex got back I was thankful.

“You look like crap.” I said.

“Thanks for the vote of confidence kid.” Blase responded “where to?”

“W-Walmart-t.” Bobby said as he started the car.

The ride there was silent. The limo no longer felt comforting after knowing what Bobby had gone through. I knew that there had to be more to the story but for the first time in my life I didn’t want to press it. Blase’s paced breath set the mood for the drive; we had to get to where we were going and fast.

[SOME TIME LATER]

Bobby had just gotten back from the Walmart with two bags in his hand. One was from the Wendy’s that was inside the building and the other was full of stuff. He climbed into the back and handed each of us a basic kids meal and a Capri-Sun, he then sifted through the Walmart bag and produced an ice pack and pain killers for Blase and an airplane sized bottle of [SUSPICIOUS LIQUID] for himself.

(Arthur’’s comment: you can’t put that word in here.)

(Sopia’s comment: why not? All I said was Gin.)

(Arthur’s comment: No Comment.)

(Sopia’s comment: Stop trying to change it to [SUSPICIOUS LIQUID]! It’s not funny and comments don’t count as part of the retelling.)

(Arthur’s comment: Just get back to it and we’ll talk about this later.)

“S-So I’m sure that-t you all hav-ve questions f-for the both o-of us.” Bobby said, finishing the small bottle.

“What exactly happened in Topeka?” Alex asked.

Bobby winced at the mention of Topeka but took a deep breath and started to talk.

“It hap-ppened roughly t-two years ago, I was-s doing th-he sc-chool m-mandate-ed path that-t they g-give to us bu-us driver-rs when this Femal-le Junior dec-cided to pick-k on a younger peer-r for the way h-his hair look-ked and I-I decided to take action. A week-k later I got an ord-der for me to-o appear in c-court and so I obliged. I-It turned ou-ut that she and a coup-ple of her friends tol-ld the-e cops that-t I did-d something vil-le.” he stopped to take a breath, I hadn’t noticed it but he was shaking, “I l-lost my job an-nd I-I fel-ll into a deep depress-sion, it was-s at this-s point where-e I developed-d my stutt-ter. My-y mind was s-so used to b-buffering tha-at it-t started-d to alway-ys do it.”

“If you want to, please tell us how you got to where you are today.” Arthur asked.

“It-t was you-ur father. H-He offered me-e a positio-on as hi-is personal Ch-hauffeur an-nd I-I took it.”

“Thank you, so much.” Alex and Arthur said.

Bobby simply nodded.

“Blase, I have a question for you.” I asked. 

“Shoot.” He said, moving the ice pack so he could see me.

“What god were you during middle school.”

“I was our BESt.” He answered.

“I’m serious.” I responded.

“B E S t.” He enunciated.

“Oh, sorry. One more question. What is one lesson that you, as BESt, would give us in order to avoid danger or prevent harm to ourselves or others?” I said.

“Your respective tutors teach you all how to fight along with an individual skill right?”

“Yeah.” I responded.

“Well I would teach you something that I like to call ‘The Fool’s Rampage’” he said “it’s a fighting technique that I was working on in which you advance towards the opponent with sporadic movements and as soon as you are in range you start to wail on them with the goal of forcing them to fall. But I’m trying to work it to a point where it could work in tandem with other fighting styles like the ones that Hourus, Anubus and IrisIs have been teaching you.”

I looked at my feet. All they wanted to do was either atone for past mistakes or make sure that we would never get hurt. I felt ashamed to be in the company of better people.

“Thank you for telling me that.” I told him, tears forming in my eyes.

A Message From Ramesses Lunné

   By- Ramesses Lunné.

  (transcribed by Arthur Foust and inserted by Sopia Foust)

(Arthur’s comment: this interaction appears to take place during Bobby’s trip to walmart and the conversation that happened immediately afterwards)

Luna: Sir, your other guests are here.

Ramesses: Please bring them up.

Luna: Understood.

Ramesses *into the mic*: Dear Sopia, I don’t care what you think of me, but just know that I am a man of my word. 

Now Nina, I am also sending this to you but not for the same reasons. You see, an innocent man was beaten because you decided it was smart to snoop around and record what you were not meant to. Mr. Malifer would be very disappointed in you if he knew that.

*Knocking*

Ramesses: Come in!

Mariette: It’s been some time.

Ernesto: Good afternoon Ramesses.

Ramesses: Good afternoon; It has been some time. Would you like any tea?

Ernesto: Not right now. After all, we are on a mission.

Ramesses: Of course. Now are we talking as our god personas or as people?

Mariette: Up to you. You got the information after all.

Ramesses: Yeah, I got the info.

Mariette: Are you ok?

Ramesses: Always have been. Just excited about the tea.

Ernesto: Yeah, the tea, but what about the info?

Mariette: You give us the info and we will then have tea.

Ramesses: What if I made this place into a museum about the sun. I think that would be funny.

Ernesto *As Sodesk*: Give the info to us Ramesses!

Ramesses *As Khonshoe*: Why should I?

Mariette *As Neckbet*: You can either give it willingly or I can rip it out of your mouth.

Ramesses *As Khonshoe*: You would like that wouldn’t you? Instead, this is how we will do it, I will give it to you but it’s up to you to decipher it.

Ernesto and Mariette *as there respective gods*: decipher?

Ramesses *As Khonshoe*: The Fousts travel to a historical land full of knowledge to raise that which has been set. 

Ernesto: Historical?

Mariette: Knowledge?

Ernesto and Mariette: Athens.

Ramesses: Huh, I thought it was Madison but whatever. Waxing! Waning!

*Ernesto and Mariette get escorted out.*

Tickets Please.

  By- Arthur Foust.

We were back on the road and heading in a new direction, the heart of Athens, New York. Blase was still tending to his bruises with the walmart ice pack and Alex was reading some random article about how Zerf-Bows spur on violence in children on his phone. I didn’t really have anything to do but wait or think about whatever may be going on in the ordinary lives of the people that the limo passed so I decided to close my eyes and try to get some sleep.

This, it would turn out, was a very bad idea. Or a good one. I’ll let you be the judge.

“Arthur! Wake up!” Sopia yelled at my face, jolting me to life. “We are being followed!”

“Yeah, I know. I believe that it was I who told the group that.” I said to an overly panicked Sopia.

“Man, now isn’t the time!” Alex yelled “Look!”

He ushered me over to the window where I saw a red VW beetle tailing us. In the driver’s seat was a elderly woman wearing black, unlike the regular elderly woman she looked furious at either us or her existence. In the passenger seat was an old man holding a bulldog.

“Why is the dog there?” I asked

Sopia grabbed me and pulled me close.

“It’s the murder weapon.” She whispered.

I jolted awake and looked around. Alex was finishing the article on Zerf-Bows and Sopia looked startled at my sudden jump to consciousness.

“Go back to sleep. You’re more approachable when you look super dead.” She quipped.

“I think our followers are here.” I told her.

“What do you mean?” She asked.

I twisted around and looked out the back window. Exactly two cars behind us, switching lanes at a common interval, was a red VW beetle. In its passenger seat was a younger version of the passenger from my dream but this time he looked like he was packed in. His expression reminded me of a bulldog. In the driver’s seat was a fairly young looking woman, her red scarf was wrapped over her head like a 50’s newlywed.

“Blase. Do me a favor and see if you can’t recognise the people in the red beetle.” I asked as we switched spots in the car.

He looked for a second and turned back around.

“It’s them. It’s Mariette and Ernesto.” He said, alerting the car.

“How did yo-” Alex started.

“Don’t ask, can’t tell.” I said as I turned around and peered into the drivers booth. “Bobby, get us to the closest form of transportation that isn’t a car.”

He nodded and took a sharp right onto a declining hill. I peered out the front window to see where we were headed, a metro station with a train taking passengers. I then traveled back to the rear window to see that the red beetle was still following us. Bobby then turned and quickly parked the limo, ushering us out to the station, insisting that we grab our disguises. 

I looked behind us to see the woman and man get out and slowly advance towards us.

“We need to get on that train.” Alex told us.

“We know!” Blase, Sopia and I yelled at him.

“T-There” Bobby pointed to a hole in the fence “Go-o.”

[SOME MINOR TRESPASSING LATER]

We got on the train with little time to spare. While the doors were closing Mariette and Ernesto walked out of the station waving tickets and smiling like giddy kids looking at a homeless man. Bobby sighed as he slumped into a chair, the rest of us following his good example.

Soon enough though the conductor came by asking for our tickets. Bobby solemnly stood up and slowly explained the situation to him.

“Sorry, but a rule is a rule.” The conductor said to him. “The next stop is your stop.”

“We understand,” he said, speaking for all of us.

[5 MINUTES LATER]

We quietly got off the train.

“Listen, this train doesn’t leave for another ten minutes so that should give you enough time to buy tickets for your group.” The conductor said, “I truly am sorry.”

Alex started to look around the station while Bobby checked his wallet to see if he had enough cash. Alex suddenly started to laugh.

“W-What is it?” Bobby asked him.

“Look.” he said in between laughs. He was pointing up to the station sign.

Slowly everyone looked up and let out a laugh of some kind.

“Madison, New York” the station sign read.

“What’s so funny about Madison?” The conductor asked.

“This IS our destination.” Alex told him.

A Traveler’s Guide to Madison

  By- Sopia Foust

We walked out of the station. Bobby looked to find a rental car while the rest of us went off to relieve ourselves and change into the outfits that Dr. Foust and Ms. Lauper packed for us. 

I walked out looking like a Jackson Pollock redesign of a chess table. Alex didn’t look any better, his jacket looked like it had been burned then patted out on a beach and his regular pants were traded out for ridiculously baggy sweatpants. Blase walked out next, (I’m going to be honest. His was probably the worst.) looking like Cuella from 101 dalmations if she had won. Next was Arthur. He was fixing his baggy whitewashed jeans. His blindingly white trench coat hung over his turtleneck like a sheet over a ghost.

“Who’s Jo?” He foolishly asked while inspecting his hat, “Jo” embroidered on the cap.

After the aftermath of that foolish question we got into the rental car.

“Wh-here to?” Bobby asked.

“Athens,” I said, “it’s the next town over. From there Arthur and I will take over because we know the destination.”

“U-Under-rstood-d.” Bobby said as he started to drive forward into the town.

The metro-station was located in a forested area away from the main town. Once you got on the winding road that would take you into the main town you faced two options, travel further into town or head upstate to some town or another. We choose to head into town. Upon first glance Madison looked like a basic college town. Your overpriced book stores were placed sporadically along the main street along with cafes and some Dunkin Donuts. On the front steps of one of these cafes three people were fighting. Two of these people had bright orange shirts on, the words “Athens Middle” were printed on them.

“Stop the car.” Alex said, reading my mind.

“Why? Do you want to go and join the brawl?” Blase asked.

“Yes. We need an insider understanding of Athens right? So wouldn’t it make sense that we stop the fight and ask the people with orange shirts for help?”

He looked like he wanted to say something but he just paused instead.

“Bobby?” Blase asked.

“Jus-st rememb-ber your training-g Ale-ex.” He told us, and reminded Alex. He pulled the car over and parked.

We slowly got out of the car and adjusted our clothes. 

“Alright people, let’s get this over with quickly.” Arthur reminded us.

We walked across the street and towards the quarrel. A waitress was trying to get the two groups to stop.

“C’mon guys, please take this elsewhere.” She begged.

“Ma’am, we don’t pick the ball room, we just dance.” A girl, about our age, said to the waitress.

“Vicky, please, just shut up.” another kid our age told the girl, Vicky. “We are in this mess because you started a ‘waltz’ you can’t hope to finish.”

After the kid finished speaking he was hit by his opponent’s fist. This was our cue to rush in. Arthur went to ask the waitress about the fight and why it started. Alex rushed in to continue, and end, the fight in the person’s absence and I decided to check on the bruised person.

“How many fingers am I holding up?” I asked, holding four.

“Four, now do you mind helping me up?” He said, offering his hand.

“Don’t do it girl, he’s just going to make you pay him for it later.” The other person said. “You still owe me money, Edward!”

“You handed it to me fair and square! I owe you nothing Malfo, besides, isn’t your father filthy rich?” he yelled at him, “I know you go to that stupid high school for stuck-up preps so your family must have some big bucks!”

“You say another word about my family and I’ll sue yours!” Malfo threatened.

By the way he was talking I knew the threat was hollow. But the real question was if Edward knew that.

“My DaD wIlL fIgHt YoUrS.” he mocked. “Get bent!”

Malfo looked ready to run him down but Alex just punched him in the knee.

“You’re better than this. Forget him and run.” He told Malfo, practically ordering him.

After this Malfo person walked away from the skirmish I helped Edward up.

“What was that all about?” Arthur asked.

“The dolt wanted his cash back.” Edward explained.

“Did you take it from him fairly?” Alex asked.

“Why does that matter? I used it for a good cause.” He told us.

“Yeah, right.” Vicky spoke up, “besides, what’s up with the outfits?”

Arthur took a deep breath and looked to me to explain the situation.

“We are, uh, time-travelers. From the year 1985, and we are on a mission to find a power source containing 1.21 gigawatts of electricity in order to power our time machine. We thought that these outfits would help us blend in. Isn’t that right Star?” I said, completely making things up.

Arthur picked up the fact that I referred to him as his codename.

“Absolutely right, Magician, Hermit here can also back us up.”

Edward looked at us strangely then shrugged it off. Vicky on the other hand was lapping it up.

“My name is Vicky Manief and I am a Iris Rainbow writer. Can you please tell me more about your travels through time? Can I get a comment from you Mr. Hermit? How about you Mr. Star? Maybe one from you Ms. Magician? Please, Just a bit for the papers.” she was practically begging. 

Edward was now walking away. We started to follow him. Bobby and Blase soon joined us on foot.

The Deal With Edward.

  By- Arthur Foust

I figured that we would eventually return to using code names, I just didn’t want it to be this sudden, or at all for that matter. We were now following Edward, a kid who was our age and height with pale skin and an apparent tendency to scam people. I knew that the scam thing wasn’t anything to mess with according to what Gio had to say. 

He quickly pivoted to face us.

“Can all of you buzz off!?” He yelled.

“We have some questions we think you can help us answer.” Sopia calmly said.

“Is it about gigawatts because I know some Libians you can rip off.” He retorted.

“Clever but no. It’s about gods and their paper bodies.”

He paused, a series of emotions crossing his face.

“That’s a pretty dangerous topic. Especially with what all is going on.”

“Whats going on?”

“Wow, maybe all of you are time travelers.”

“Whats going on?” she asked, more insistent this time.

“I’ll tell you. For five bucks.”

Alex lunged forward and grabbed Edward by his collar.

“We just saved your scrawny hide. The least you can do is tell us what we need to know!” He yelled.

“Mac Astley and the Titan’s Curse Word. it’s a pretty big deal in the world of paper gods.” Edward said.

“Then why haven’t I heard of it.” Blase mumbled.

“What?” Edward asked.

“Ignore Fool.” I said through clenched teeth.

“Back to paper gods.” Sopia said.

“Yeah. what’s up?” Edward asked.

“Do you know where the nearest QuikPik would be?” Sopia asked.

Edward started to laugh.

“Well do you?” She asked.

“Of course I do, I work there!”

[SOME WALKING/SMALL SCAMMING LATER]

“I can’t believe I lost twenty bucks over some leaves.” Alex said, disheveled.

“I can’t believe you bet on some leaves.” Edward said, counting Alex’s cash. “Anywase, we are he- who are you?”

He was looking at the two people we were trying to beat here, Ernesto and Mariette.

“Would you look at that.” Mariette said, laughing.

“It’s feeding time, and Sodesk is hungry!” Ernesto roared.

“Wait. did you say Sodesk?” Ernesto asked. Sopia pulled him to the side of the building then ran to the back.

“Where is our little friend going?” Neckbet asked us.

“Somewhere you can’t hope to reach!” I yelled to her as I assumed the stance that Mr. Allan drilled into me. 

“Lets try The Fools Rampage.” Blase whispered to me, assuming a similar position to mine.

I looked over to Alex and Bobby whose dual stances perfectly mirrored each other.

“Let’s get this over with shall we?” They said in near perfect synchronicity.

We nodded.

“Great! This really will be fun.” Sodesk hissed.

“Just perfect.” Neckbet squealed.

Edward Catches On (Plus A Guest Appearance.)

  By- Sopia Foust

“Come on, we gotta get going.” I said while pulling him along.

“Stop!” he dropped to the grass, forcing us to halt. “You have got a lot to explain and very little time to do so. Starting with Sodesk.”

“Sodesk, ok, I don’t know him all that well but he was hired by our evil english teacher who took power over our school with the goal of following us here.”

“Here? To this exact QuikPik?”

“Yes.”

“Alright.”

“Alright?”

“Yeah, I’ve heard, and certainly seen, stranger. But please, go on.”

“Ok, i’ll tell you what’s important. We’re not Greek OriGod people if you know what I mean. Our school is in Brooklyn so that should already key you into just how important this mission is.”

“Not really. Brooklyn isn’t that far away.”

“Well it’s been a long day. As I was saying. Our pantheon is more Egyptian, I have been trained in the ways of finding people’s weaknesses and my father is the god of death.” I informed him. I expected a pretty huge reaction but it was fairly mundane.

“Mood.” He plainly said.

“Mood?” I asked.

“Yeah, I kinda figured the whole Egypt thing when the Sodesk dude referred to himself in the third person; and as for the dad-god of the dead I understand the pressure you may feel seeing as my father is Shradies. So yeah, mood.” He explained.

“So, you know how annoying it is when-” 

“People expect you to act a certain way? Like you’re supposed to admire him?” He finished.

“Yeah…”

We shared an awkward silence. It was nice knowing that I wasn’t alone.

“Anywase,” he opened the back door “what’s your mission about?”

“We were sent out here to grab some papyrus so our principal could fold Ra.” I told him, I felt my pockets to find that Bobby snuck in the final Tarot card, the sun with the earth on the back.

“Be careful. They might go mad.” He said, walking towards the counter.

Over the PA system “Bites the Dust” by Queen was playing. Edward slinked behind the counter and pulled out his phone.

“The paper products would be over in the back corner.” He said.

[SOMETIME LATER] (Sopia’s comment: the fight outside was still happening.)

I have looped the QuikPik a couple of times now. Every time I came back he had nothing useful to say except for “check the corner again.”. I was walking up to the counter so I could beat the crap out of him when I saw that he was talking to someone.

“Oh MAN Mac. Do you know how bad of an idea it is to come hear? I could alert the authorities to you and you would be a goner!” He yelled at the kid, Mac, who was at the counter. 

“Yeah, I know.” He mumbled.

“Like, all I gotta do is say your name a little too loud and you’re gone.” He hissed.

“Then do it.” Mac mumbled, calling him out on his bluff.

Edward’s once entertained face went slack.

“How much do you think it’ll go for?” Mac asked, putting a gold necklace on the counter and sliding it over.

Edward picked it up and inspected it.

“I can do 25 bucks.” He offered.

“Not enough.” Mac said “50 bucks and we have a deal.”

“25 and I don’t call the cops.”

“50 and you keep your teeth.”

Edward looked at the necklace again.

“50 sounds good.” He said while pulling some cash out of the register.

“What’s with the fight outside?” Mac asked.

“Do you think I care?” Edward asked back.

“Fair point.” Mac said, heading for the door.

“Hey pal.” Edward spoke, “you do know that things are going to get better, right?”

“I surely hope so.”

“Well they will; they always do.” Edward said, seemingly talking from experience. 

I then walked up to the counter.

“Why didn’t you tell him about me?” I asked.

“Did you want me to?” He asked back.

“No, it’s just that I thought you played all sides.”

“I may be awful at deals but I have standards.” he said, sounding hurt.

“Whatever. Can you please help me?”

I placed both hands on the counter. The last tarot card was in one of them. Edward spotted it before I could put it back. He then started to inspect it in every way possible. Apparently he saw something none of us had, he flipped up the image of the earth. On the backside of the image was a small symbol. It was the eye of Ra. 

“Why didn’t you show me this earlier?” he said, now typing on a computer.

“What does it mean?”

“The shop received an email earlier today. We thought it was spam so we decided to delete it but because of you it now has meaning.”

He reached under the counter and pulled out a small pack of paper, papyrus to be exact.

“Can I read it?” I asked.

“Go ahead.”

The Email

  By- Dr. Foust.

Dear QuikPik,

    My Daughter/ Son may stop at your establishment searching for a pad of Papyrus paper. If you could please put it aside I would appreciate it. Coming with them will also be a tarot card with a small amount of cash inside of it. You will know that it is the card because it will have an image of the earth on the back. If you flip up the image you will find The eye of Ra, this is how you will know it is them. Please take the cash as compensation and payment for this small action.

Edward Catches On (continued)

  By- Sopia Foust

“Thanks Dad.” I said to myself.

“Holy [REDACTED] man! Your dad is stacked.” In his hand he held 500 dollars. “Dude, if you need me to put something on hold for you in the future just know that I am your guy. Heck, take a record with you.”

I grabbed “Sheer Heart Attack” by Queen and the pad of Papyrus.

“Oh, and do me a favor.” I said.

“Yeah?”

“Don’t tell anyone we were here.” I asked him.

“Who?” he said, acknowledging my request.

Epilogue
  By- Arthur Foust

Sopia walked out of the Quikpik with the pad of Papyrus and an album by Queen.

“What happened to Sodesk and Neckbet?” she asked.

I gestured to the man and woman who were catching their breath, Alex and Blase stood next to them.

“S-So did you g-get-t it?” Bobby asked.

Sopia waved the paper over her head, a massive smile was across her face. She trotted up to the two of us.

“So. the Edward situation?” I asked.

“No need to worry. He will keep our secret.” she told us.

“Good to know.”

I pulled out my phone and dialed up Dr. Foust.

“Hello Arthur and Sopia.” He said, sounding disheveled.

“Hey, whats up?” I asked.

“You go first.”

“We got the paper!” Sopia eagerly shouted.

A smile came across his face.

“That’s good to hear. Real good.” He said.

“Now it’s your turn.”

He took a deep breath. It was like he didn’t want to tell us what was happening.

“Yeah. I sadly only have bad news.” he started, “The school is probably going to have to shut down, for good. The PSA, after having been brainwashed by Mr. Malifer, has declared that my involvement in the school isn’t benefiting anyone.”

This was like a shot to the heart, but he continued nonetheless.

“Because of this I can no longer fund the school. And once all that weight falls onto the other donors they will also back out. I have already started to make a plan on how I can continue to benefit the staff after the initial close but it’s looking pretty bleak. So, overall, we are looking at a total shut-down around the end of Twenty-Twenty.” He said.

The phone then died in my hands. The air surrounding all of us seemed to get more stale with every passing second. I looked around. Everyone seemed to be processing this differently but we all collectively understood one thing. 

Mr. Malifer had won.

I started to head back to the limo. It no longer mattered if we brought a new sun back to Brooklyn. Or if Mr. Malifer turned the building into a military school. Nothing mattered. I looked down at my hands searching for answers but I knew that I already knew everything. I had lost all power. The gods had lost all power.

We had just lost.

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