Kammy responds to this with a solemn tone, “Let’s not forget Storyboard VII, which is the most realistic version of the System Guards, with James Scott being a missionary to the country of Ruyngard, leaving a great legacy of missionaries, ending with Xames Scott and his siblings, all of whom lived during the techbot era of ‘All Cheerful & Rosie’ before their literary rendition of the Rapture and Tribulation happened.  Maybe we’ll meet Jessica Circus one day.”

    Duplica laughs and crosses her arms in contemplation.  “It’s so complicated presenting a real-world story to people while keeping the integrity of our fictional universe intact.  Good thing we have a good afterlife program to help our PACs adjust to the transition of pseudo-real world to fully fictional.”

    “Hey,” says a pretty voice everyone loves, “are you going to keep rambling technical jargon, or are we going on a field trip?”  The beautiful Ally J. can’t help but tease her friends.

    “You’re not going on the trip, are you?  You always decline my begging.” Cat is enthralled.

    Sighing, Ally sadly states, “I wish I could.  It was a slip of tongue.  Maybe one day though.  Someone’s got to watch things while you’re gone.  Mercy surely can’t handle it.”

    “Hey now!” retorts the smiling defendant.

    This is when Elf and Gigi’s good friend Faye finally arrives, having made everyone wait a tad longer than expected.  “I’m sorry I’m late, guys,” she says with a sigh.  “My alarm didn’t go off, so when Mom came to check on me, I was still sleeping like an irresponsible baby.  A great way to start our exam quest….”

    Putting her arm around Faye, Grace kindly consoles, “Hey, it happens.  You’ve been doing a lot better lately, so don’t let one setback set you back to the lazy days, Lady Faye.  Odie kay?”

    Elf and Faye both repeat in confusion, “Odie kay?”

    Laughing, Grace defends herself.  “It rhymed.  I had to try.”

    With this going on, we turn our attention to Ally J. and Duplica having a private discussion concerning the late arrival.

    “Cat, will you ease my mind and pay special attention to my little Faye T.?  She’s been quite discomforted this past month by the anniversary of her father’s death.  You do remember those dreaded circumstances surrounding how I joined your team.  And now that Elfie is becoming increasingly obsessed with his little sword attack, I can tell my child’s phobia of such things is becoming more pronounced.”

    Cat Rug agrees.  “I remember.  One of our System Guards encountered your husband and both were attacked by a nasty fiend.  In the chaos of the fray, our SG accidentally ended your husband with their energy blade shortly before being vanquished by the foe.  You arrived late to that battle and witnessed the horror of it all.  I remember hearing of your heroic stand in doing to that beast what the two fallen could not.  In honor of your husband, you successfully defeated that monster.  I’ve always admired you for that.”

    Ally kindly interrupts, “That wasn’t the point of my talking to you, Lady Duplica.  I’m concerned with my daughter’s well-being, not the praise of my achievement, though I do appreciate your kindness.”

    The teacher understands.  “The System Guard blade is said to be based off the idea of the Sword of the Spirit, or our representation, and thus it will only harm the evil and purify the good, while some say it can do hurt to either side.  Both are true.  In the hands of the skillful, the blade is harmless to the righteous, but in the hands of the careless or malevolent, it is a weapon of cruel destruction.  I can understand your daughter’s fear.  I’ll try to talk to Elfie without betraying the confidentiality behind Faye’s reasons for her anxiety.”

    Satisfied, Ally thanks Duplica and changes the subject to a lighter topic, and this is how the two spend the next few minutes until an unexpected addition to the list of travelers arrives.

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