It was interesting to learn about my mother. Aunt Midnight told us not to trumpet the fact that we now knew about her, because it was a sore subject. As well it should be - my mother's biggest failure, laid bare for us to see. A whole enchanted city destroyed because of a single error in judgement.
But these brought new questions to my mind -
A) Had Mr Kenobi really come to see and recruit his daughter?
B) If not, was he with Annabeth now?
C) If not, would Annabeth even be accepted into his cult, seeing as she was of illegal birth according to the Sons of the Sword?
The possible answers gave me concern and worry, but Aunt Midnight was already there. When Bex and Vera came, she handed a short letter to Vera and told her to find Annabeth. Bex was to follow closely behind Vera and see if Mr Kenobi was with Annabeth. If he was, she was to stop them, neutralise any threat that he might pose and bring them both back to Shadownight Manor. If Mr Kenobi was not with Annabeth, they were to simply explain the situation and escort her home.
“Are you going to be okay without us, grandmother?” Vera asked.
Aunt Midnight nodded, “I'll be alright. Just keep safe, okay?” she kissed the girl's forehead and then looked at Bex, “If you die on me, I swear I will come to kill you,” she said, giving her a big hug.
“Aunt Midnight, good grief,” Bex laughed, “You really have gone loco. I'll be fine. You know that.”
Aunt Midnight smiled at them, “Just putting the fear of Aunt Midnight in you. I... don't need to lose any more of you.”
“It's basically a reconnaissance mission. Don't fret! I mean, at least there's no Vasquez this time, right?”
“...Do you want to take Damon with you?”
“Nah. Damon gets irritatingly over-protective. It's annoying.”
“Well, alright then.”
Bex touched Aunt Midnight's shoulder, “We'll be back before you know it.”
Aunt Midnight nodded, “I hope so. You should say goodbye to your mother as well. That woman is sure to worry.”
“Like I need reminding.”
They left immediately after that.
Aunt Midnight spoke to mother and father for a while. She gave them the flask which held the remaining water from the Fountain of Youth.
“I need younger people to just keep an eye on this place and to help out Aldrin,” Aunt Midnight said, “Drinking this isn't going to be great, so I'd advise you have no sharp objects around. You'll need to bathe in the water as well, it should work to some extent if you dilute it, but I doubt there'll be enough for two baths so, you know, enjoy, I guess.”
“You can't be serious!” mother said, “How can you even be thinking of leaving your family now!”
Aunt Midnight paused, “Do you want to wait and see what will happen if I stay?”
Mother curled her lip, “Midnight, it's dangerous out there! And with your state of mind-”
“Kenny and Clay will be coming with me.”
“Oh no! Not my Kenny! Do you remember the last time both you and her disappeared? I didn't see my youngest daughter for seven whole years!”
“This time will be different. This time there are no slavers. Or William for that matter.”
“Mum,” I stepped in, “It's fine. Things will be better this way and I'll write to you all the time. I promise.”
“Kenny, you'll be in constant danger.”
“I know, Mum, but it's not like I can't handle myself. I'm a gladiatorial hero, for God's sake! Besides, I've always wanted to go to Normandy. You know that, right?”
Mother sighed, “I was hoping your desire to become a brute like your aunt might lessen as the years passed.”
“Well, we aren't all made to become ladies in pretty dresses,” Aunt Midnight said, “That's what my daughters are for. Some of them, anyway.”
“I'm still not sure what you're getting at, Midnight,” father said, “You saying that we're getting too old for this?”
“If you want to stay in the condition you are, Asa, by all means. Who am I to stop you? But Georgia seems on-board and there's only enough of that for one bath. You miss your chance and you'll be stuck an old man and she a young woman.”
Father gave Midnight an irritable look.
“Or you could give your share to William. I'm sure he'd be thrilled to be in his thirties again,” Aunt Midnight suggested.
Father sighed and didn't say anything.
“That that, then? Good,” Aunt Midnight got up and hugged them both, “Stay safe, the both of you. And, please, for your own sakes, no more kids!”
“You had Eomer!” mother protested.
“But I didn't know Clay would happen. You do. Plus, my kids aren't the ones running around in the pursuit of world domination. So, just, be careful?”
Mother laughed, while father just glared, but Aunt Midnight ignored the look and moved in the direction of her quarters.
“Pack your kit well,” she told me, “We're leaving tonight.”