While on the phone, Cat puts her arm around her boy who has sneaked up beside her and puts the conversation on speaker.  Ent jokes around with his mom and dad before noticing Faye, Gigi and Kammy laughing a lot nearby.  As the chat with his parents comes to a close, his curiosity drags him over to this trio, leading him into an awkwardly emotional conversation about struggles and such he didn’t see coming.

    “Oh, uh,” he says, opting for his usual nervous exit strategy, “I’ll just, um—”

    “You’ll just, um, stay with me,” Faye decides for him.  “The New Three weren’t discussing things terribly personal.  You’re fine.”

    “Besides,” Kammy says, literally waving the issue aside, “there’s nothing personal we’ve talked about so far that hasn’t either been clearly stated to you boys or tearfully shouted on the battlefield for all to hear.  But my fiery sis and I are all better now.  Then again, if you’re intimidated by three strong-willed females, I understand you running for your life.”  The girls laugh as Elf rolls his eyes.

    As she nonchalantly adjusts her pigtails, Faye proposes, “We could talk about the Ultimate Machine if you are so set on keeping it awkward, or we could be wiser with our time and discuss ius or something.”

    Not taking Faye’s rare moment of discipline as a hint, Ent submits, “I did notice that VII didn’t have an AB or a Missy, so that tells me the Ultimate Marriage thing is all the less worth worrying about.”

    Pointing her pigtails at him and giving him a disapproving look, Miss Worley says, “The one storyboard where AB and Missy don’t even exist is the universe everyone holds up as the prime example of how a Bible-based fictional universe should look like, and you want me to feel better about the System’s opinion of AB and Missy’s relationship?  You should really think before you speak, Double-Edge.”

    Not to worry, K.C. Cannon is on this one.  “Correction, darling, most people who compare XI with SBL and VII recognize that in both cases, Packy Derm is an alternate to AB himself, which would make Ivory Nocturne an alternate to Melody Grace, whom we call Missy.  SO, not only did XI have TWO versions of AB and Missy married, the precious couple that impacted VII just as much as the Crimson Prince did, if not more, was Packy and Ivory Derm, the VII equivalents of AB and Missy.  I’d say the System is very in favor of AB and Missy being together.  Tell your fear to go eat worms, and have your Elfie all to yourself, my wonderful little sister!”

    This does make Faye feel better, but her experiences today cause her to wisely conclude, “Yeah, but I was only teasing Ent about SBVII.  If I don’t listen to my friends and give my worries to God, I’ll keep being a paranoid jerk like I was today.  Elfie, I’m very glad I can’t date you yet.  You’re sixteen, which gives us both two years to grow up, which is exactly what I need.  Despite what you’d say, I’d be a terrible girlfriend for you as I am now.  So, I’m ‘fulfilling the prophecy’ right now, as AB goofily said while pretending to be the overly dramatic Max, if I am your Missy, then I’m going to die…right now…to self, and I’m going to hand you over to God and let Him decide when the time is right to give you back two years from now.  By then, I trust He will have guided my heart to be strong enough for whatever answer He gives me.”

    As much as she respects this answer, Gigi can’t help but joke, “Don’t worry, Elf; if Faye changes her mind by then and marries Owan, you and I can have a house all to ourselves, raising chickens for the rest of our lives as two hopelessly single people.”

    “Uh…no.”  For some reason, this offer doesn’t interest Ent in the slightest.

    And so, as Kammy and Grace continue to tease the hopeful couple of tomorrow, the Christmas celebration gradually moves toward the gift-giving portion, as this is that kind of holiday, you know.  New weapons, new attacks to install into their System armor, and a few sentimental items make the list of things exchanged among the teachers, students and other SGs present.  For that matter, it makes you wonder just how much stuff the people of Juniper have, considering they get gifts every time they walk down the street to visit Lady Sue.  Oh well, the dimensional physics of Juniper make the worries of closet space a thing of the past.

-To the Final Page!-

-Previous Page-

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