I sit up quickly. My eyes never leave the pendant.
“You think we can use that to get back?” Griff’s voice appears from beside me.
“Doubtful,” I answer. “It’s only supposed to travel backwards along its own timeline. Even if it works, we’d only be able to go about ten minutes into the past.”
“Maybes we’s could go back and stop dat Wizzerd from stealin’ it from us,” Noll offers.
“Maybe,” I reply. “But I have a feeling that’s not going to work either.”
“Just like you said before,” I say, looking grimly at Noll. “It’s all set already. We can’t stop anything.”
“Should I prepare for another headache?” Griff asks.
“No,” I reply as I get to my feet. “I’m done explaining.” I walk away from the destruction, leaving the sphere where it lies.
Griff is right behind me before I get even five feet away.
“Come on, kid,” he cheers. “It was a great idea, we just didn’t have all the info.”
“Yeah, Chelle,” Noll says, appearing beside us with the sphere in his hands. “We can’t give up now. We’s close to figuring it out.”
I stop in my tracks and look Noll in the eyes before I return my attention to the sphere in his hands. Gently, I remove it from his hands and turn it over in mine.
“You don’t get it,” I say, continuing to inspect the sphere. “This all happened before we even started. We lost, thousands of years before we were even born.”
“Come on, kid,” Griff argues. “You know that’s not true. Don’t you remember rule 30?”
“We’re far beyond the rules,” I reply. “The rules haven’t even been made yet.”
“But that doesn’t mean they don’t apply,” Griff smiles. “The rules are about people, about what makes them tick, and that hasn’t changed in over–”
“No,” I say, my resolve growing within me, “we’re the ones who got scammed. We’ve been played, Griff. You, of anyone, should know this. That damned Wizard has been playing us ever since I saw that stupid necklace in that stupid antique shop.
“From that very moment he’s had us in the middle of his game, working us, toying with us, playing us in the greatest swindle the world has ever seen. And it’s done now. We’ve lost everything, even the one thing he left us,” I say, holding the sphere up for all of us to see, “this one last thing he’s left us. It’s worthless.” I throw the item as far as I can, deep into the tall grass.
I look at Griff and Noll. Their faces turn to loss as they watch the ball soar through the air into the endless green around us.
“We’ve already lost so much,” I continue. “Geoffrey, Agnes, Lance. They’re just a small amount of what that evil man has taken from us. It ends now. He can’t take anything else, because there’s nothing left to take,”
“Kid.” Griff turns to me.
I cut him off. “That’s right, I am just a kid! I’m not supposed to be traveling all across time and space to save the world from a megalomaniac from early European civilization as he attempts to set himself up as god.
“I’m supposed to be going to high school, getting pissed at my parents for looking at the stuff I put up on the internet, and trying to find a boyfriend.
“Instead, I’m watching people die, running from exploding robots, and trying to pretend I’m able to keep it all together when I absolutely do not have any possible chance of keeping it all together because I’m stuck in a time and place where they don’t even have toilet paper.”
“Come on, kid,” Griff begins. “It’s not that bad. We’ll get out of this. I promise.”
A tear falls down onto my cheeks as I finally blurt out the words I’ve been hiding from ever since I met the man who has been my companion these last few months. “I just want to go home.”
I fall to my knees, head in my hands, and the tears flow like they’ve never flowed before. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t been so stupid, if I had just stayed at home. I don’t even know why I left home in the first place.
It wasn’t like my parents were all that bad. They didn’t beat me, or abuse me, or–hell, I really don’t know why I left them. Just some stupid selfish reason that’s long forgotten.
“Chelle,” Griff says softly. I hear him and Noll arrive at my side.
Griff’s arm wraps around my shoulder as he kneels beside me. “You’re right. You should have never been put into this situation. Here I’ve been letting you make all the decisions, letting you lead the way, all because I’m too scared to even know how to think. You’ve been so strong that I forgot I’m supposed to be the one taking care of you. I forgot I’m supposed to be the adult.”
“Shut up,” I say, a laugh escaping through the tears.
“I’m serious, kid. We started this adventure with you as the apprentice. I’ve learned so much from you since then that I think it’s safe to say you’ve graduated to full-fledged grown up adult human. And you sure as hell deserve the right to break down from time to time because of it.”
I sniffle lightly and look up at Griff through bleary eyes and give him a big smile before finally throwing my arms around him, almost pulling him to the ground with me.
“Hey guys,” Noll says just as I feel the ground start to shake beneath us.
I look up and see he’s pointing off into the distance. Griff and I stand and look to where he’s pointing and see something arriving across the grass.
Go to Chapter Fifty-One