Memories and Promises
By Royda

Chapter Fourty-One


Mia watched her boys after they came back. She was relieved that they
were back without anymore mishaps but she couldn't help but think that
something happened in the Mortal World. Kieran was unusually quiet, more so
than normal. Kiefer kept hovering around him like there was something that
was going to happen. She could just feel something bothering them both but
she couldn't tell what.

"Anubis, what happened back there?" Mia turned to the Warlord that
watched the boys, too.

"To be honest with you, I don't know." She looked at him, surprised. "I
left them to watch the Ronins on their own."

"You what?!"

"Ir was for their own good. They needed to know how it feels when
they're all alone out there, on their own." He watched her for a second then
continued. "When I came back to get them, an explosion went off not far from
where they were. I got there as soon as I can and found them okay but the
Ronins were gone. When I asked Kiefer what happened, he said he accidentally
shot something in the trees."

"And what about Kieran?" She turned back to the boys.

"He's been like that, even when I came and got them."

"He's very confused Anubis. Somebody talked to them and got him all
worried and confused. He needs our help."

"I know. Why don't you take Kiefer in while I go talk to him." She
nodded and walked towards them.




"Kier, are you really okay?" Kiefer asked for the tenth time in as many

"Yes," was his brother's weak answer.

"Look, you don't have to let his guys get to you." He sat down next to
his brother and threw an arm around his shoulder. "What you said might be
true but we're still together, right? That's all that matters. We're happy
because we'ver got all we need. I don't care what happens around us just as
long as we're all together. Are you listening to me, Kier?"

He stayed silent. Kiefer lightly shook his shoulder but Kieran still
stared at the floor. He was getting frustrated with his brother and that led
to being irritated. Being irritated led to anger. Anger made him more
frustrated. It was a vicouse cycle. They could hear their mother coming
near and Kiefer was the only one to look up.

"Kiefer, can you join me inside?" Mia asked her oldest son. She saw him
glance at his brother then slowly shook his head yes. He took her extended
hand and walked off with her, glancing back only a few times. They passed
his father as he headed for Kieran.

"It wasn't his fault Mama," Kiefer said quietly, staring up ahead. 'It
was mine."

"Your fault?" Mia looked down at her son. "Over what?"

"Over whether we should have followed that monk or not. I was the one
that insisted we go talk to him." Mia abruptly stopped and stopped Kiefer
along with her.


"It was a really stupid idea and not he's even more confused than before.
I should have known better. You told us never to talk to strangers."

"Did this monk have a name?" Mia knelt in front of Kiefer.

"Yeah, he said lots of people know him. He said to call him Ancient

"The Ancient? He talked to you?"

"More than that, he was the one that messed with Kier."

"Messed with Kier? What did he do?"

"He asked if we were happy?"

"Happy?" Silence fell and she contemplated. The question seemed
harmless enough.

"I thought it was a pretty stupid question but it got Kier all confused."

"You didn't kill him, did you?"

"I wanted to but Kier sort of deflected it. He didn't want anybody hurt."

"And you should follow that, too."

"I wanted to but he hurt Kieran, Mama. He doesn't look that sad now but
he was really sad before Papa came."

"What I don't undersand is how that question about happiness made him so
sad and confused in the first place?"

"I think he already knew what the answer was but then he started to think
about everything else. He thought about Unky Dais and Master Talpa. He said
that there were so many people that hate all of us that we couldn't possibly
be happy. I told him that being together should be enough. He said he
doesn't know anymore. He doesn't know if that's all it takes to be happy.
He's wrong, right Mama?"

"The four of us are what we need to be happy. Just remember that.
Nothing more." She slowly gathered him in her arms as he drew a shuddering
breath, resisting the urge to cry. I hope you're doing something about this
Anubis, she thought.