Duplica is very curious to know what is so important about this era, and she knows her ancestor is right about not giving up so easily. However, she is not thoroughly convinced every child will be ready by Monday, so she makes a call to Ally J. and asks to have an interview with a devastated young girl about her wishes for the following week.
The two meet.
“Faye, how are you doing, hon?” Cat asks cautiously.
“I’m fine, Lady Duplica. How are you?” Faye asks with such a sweet smile.
“I guess I’m fine as well, love. Faye, would you be disappointed if we took the trip without you? You are a hero after all, so we have to account for that when grading you on your performance during the trip. I wouldn’t be disappointed at all if we just call that your exam and give you next week off. Hmm?”
“Lady Duplica,” Faye says with loving concern, “you can’t do that to me. That wouldn’t be fair to the others, and you know it. I overreacted last week, but I’m fine. I thank you for caring about me enough to let me take a break, but I’m a System Guard. I can’t let my fear defeat me like that.”
Smiling with admiration, Cat tries again. “Think about your decision for a moment before you answer. I know you’re supposed to be a tough soldier, and yes, I know you want to be with Elfie, but you have to make sure that your heart and mind are in a strong place to be there for him, right? I don’t want to force you to stay home if you really don’t want to, but I do want to make sure that you truly feel that you’re ready to keep going. You know you would regret it if you came with us just to make everyone happy if what you really need is a rest after the traumatic experience you just had.”
Faye heeds Duplica’s advice and takes several minutes to seriously weigh her options. With her mind made up, she says, “Lady Duplica, I know what my mom would do. You are so sweet, but you’re too soft on us sometimes. I mean, don’t go giving us more quizzes, but you know what I mean. As I get older, life is only going to get harder. That’s what growing up involves, facing challenges more difficult than the last, but I refuse to be pushed around by the anxieties ahead. You know me well enough to realize I may say something different tomorrow, and I may voice my regret next Monday, but I have to at least try to grow up and live by faith. Will you deny me that honor, to at least try?”
This causes Cat to see her own fears she was hiding behind the curtain of the big, bad teacher. She’s not a coward, but perhaps she has been a bit overconfident and the recent attack shook her to the core more than she’d like to admit. All the same, as she plans to think about her own need to grow up a bit, Cat gladly assures Faye that she is more than welcome to come with the class on Monday. The two share a warm hug and begin to talk about lighter subjects. Ally J. marvels at the wisdom and strength of her little girl, wondering if the tot will outclass her own mother someday. This is something Ally wouldn’t mind at all.
The rest of the week has Cat checking on the other students, and even the adults, to make sure everyone is ready to continue, and each one makes Duplica feel even more confident for herself. The weekend comes and goes, and Monday morning shows up right on schedule. All the travelers gather together, repeat the whole routine from chapter one, with a few obvious changes, and soon, everyone is off for the next era of Storyboard XL history. The team is healing, but the team is strong and ready for more education. What sensitive information awaits them in the next chapter? Let’s find out.
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