Tapping her foot against the wall, Gigi surrenders. “Fine, I’ll give it a try. We were decent friends until he got the wrong idea about us, like we’re a couple or something.”
Elf laughs, “If I can handle that hottie Faye always trying to go out with me, surely you can give a simple apology.”
“Elf!” Grace quickly jumps from student to teacher. “You know what Mom says about using terms like ‘hot’ and ‘hottie’!”
Rolling his eyes, Elf agrees. “Sorry, I was trying to cheer you up and I couldn’t think of the right word. Cutie is safe enough. At any rate, I think I see the group gathering around that dude on the couch over there. I’m guessing he’s our teacher. Let’s go.”
Of course, as everyone reconvenes, an exhilarated Faye instantly fixes herself right beside her favorite human in the System right now.
Noticing this, uh, attention, Elf greets his apparent shadow with an awkward, “Sup?”
Jumping back from one inch apart to three, guilty Faye giddily declares, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to get so close. I was thinking about how kind and brave you were in the cafeteria. I’ll calm down, Ent. I guess I do let my silly head get lost in the clouds. Just know that I highly respect you, as a good friend.”
As Ent chuckles at the goober, he turns to see what the big deal is with everyone. It’s the guy from this chapter’s picture, Prince James of Ruyngard. He is apologizing to everyone for making them wait, explaining he was in class. Duplica hastily takes the blame, saying that he had no way of knowing they’d show up, and that she was the one who scheduled the landing too early.
Adjusting his glasses, the young man nicknamed Captain Crimson explains, “We here at Ruyngard U. try to keep good manners. It’d be rude of me to have you all come if I don’t show up. I guess it’s just out of habit that I felt like apologizing. So, what do you want to know?”
Cat asks him about the events from Warner’s time until now, sipping the coffee drink she bought herself. “The last time my class visited Ruyngard, the world had just experienced that great catastrophe.”
James leans forward and looks at Cat, bewildered. “You don’t look over twenty-five. I can’t believe you and these kids knew King Warner. The catastrophe happened over a century ago.”
“Not quite a century yet,” Duplica interrupts, “but I appreciate the well-received compliment!”
Captain Crimson has his own coffee that he sips as he thinks of this preposterous claim. “I still don’t believe that these kids met my Great-Great-Great-Granddaddy Warner. How do you not know what’s happened in the last hundred years then?”
Duplica gently places her hand on his shoulder. “James, honey, we’re time travelers. It’s not that difficult to understand.”
Laughing and tapping his foot to the music on the shop radio, he drinks more of his coffee. “It’s weird, but it’s not the weirdest thing that’s ever happened, I guess. History’s full of robots, monsters, giant robots, tiny monsters and that guy who got a frog’s hind end stuck in his face for days. Might as well believe there are time travelers. I mean, who am I kidding? Isn’t that kind of what happened to old Queen Vahnna?”
“Watch it, sir.” Kammy demands.
“Kammy,” Jo corrects, “James is royalty as well. Don’t be so rude to the Prince of Ruyngard.”
Startled at her mistake, she bows her head in shame and apologizes hastily.
James casually waves it off. “Eh, don’t worry; I ain’t gonna’ take your head off. Although, if you’re really sorry, then you have to prove it by taking the punishment.”
Sensing a trap, the teen in trouble suspiciously asks what this happens to be.
“You like chess?” Now he is smiling with a big, goofy grin.
“I’ve no idea, frankly. What is that?” Kammy looks at Duplica for help.
Never thought of someone not knowing what chess is. Hmmm.