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Infinity Train: Boiling Point

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Welp, like I said, here's the first full chapter of Infinity Train: Boiling Point! This is gonna be an intense ride, so I hope you're ready for some... chaos.

Before we begin, I'd like to thank Green_Phantom_Queen for giving me some ideas on how to go on with this story. She's the author of Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail, a Pokémon, Silent Hill, and Infinity Train crossover that's a pretty good read and the inspiration for this story.

Just get your stomach and mind ready, 'cause it doesn't pull any punches with the drama.

This chapter's mostly the day where Boscha gets into such a bad state that the Train picks her up.

So, without further ado, let's go!

~Normal Inner Boscha~

~Apex Inner Boscha~


Boscha still had trouble wrapping her head around what just happened.

She and her team just had a Grugdby match against a... peculiar team. More specifically, a team that included Amity Blight, a former teammate of hers, Willow Park, a prodigy regarding plant magic, and... Hexside's first Human student?

Luz Noceda was probably her name, but Boscha wouldn't know. She only ever called her "Human."

The game had gone exactly as she expected: with her team winning. Mostly thanks to her. After all, she was not only the captain, but the best player of the team.

And yet, what should've been a great victory.... didn't feel like it. Sure, she won, there was no way people could deny that. But seeing her teammates acting nice with the other group...

It felt like the game was pointless: why did she bother trying to win if she felt nothing but defeat?

"Hey there, Boscha."

The three-eyed Witch turned around, and to her relief, she saw the bard student known as Skara, one of her only friends... actually, scratch that, her only friend, period.

"Hi, Skara," Boscha sighed. "So, have you and the girls stopped pampering Amity's group?"

"I wouldn't say we were pampering them, just congratulating them for a good game," Skara replied as she sat next to Boscha. "Even so, yeah, it's over. I came here to check up on you. Are you okay?"

"Pfft, what kind of question is that!?" Boscha scoffing with a chuckle. "Of course I'm fine! Didn't even break a sweat the entire game!"

"I didn't mean physically..."

Boscha's arrogant poise slowly vanished, replaced by a begrudging sigh of acknowledgement.

"No... I don't think I'm fine... in fact, I think I'm terrible-"

"Okay, that's good enough!" Skara interjected with an uneasy giggle. "Hey, how about we hang out after school? Maybe some fresh air would help you clear your mind?"

Boscha rolled her eyes. All three of them. "Wouldn't you rather hang out with the ones who won the Grudgby match?"

"I mean, I would, but the rest of the team beat me to it."

Boscha quickly covered her mouth before her laughter could escape it. She didn't know why, but there was something about Skara that always managed to cheer her up no matter what.

Not that it mattered when not too long after, the team of Amity, Luz, and Willow appeared.

"Hi there, Boscha!" Luz chirped, waving her hand. "That was a pretty good game! The best Grudgby match I've ever played!"

"It's the only Grudgby match you've ever played," Boscha dryly pointed out.

"I know, but still, it was pretty enjoyable!" Luz turned to Amity. "Right, Amity?!"

The partial greenette flinched and avoided eye contact, blushing as she spoke, "Uh, y-y-yeah, i-it was... it was f-fun."

Someway, somehow, Amity had found a way to disappoint Boscha even more. It wasn't enough that she left the posse, and it wasn't enough that she chose to go Soft to hang out with the Weak. Now she was just acting like an utter doofus.

And this wasn't a sight Boscha was willing to stomach.

"Good game too. Now if you excuse me," Boscha stood up. "I have to do something-"

"Wait, before you go!" Luz called. "I wanted to thank you!"

Boscha raised an eyebrow. "For what, exactly?"

"Well, remember when you threw that fireball at me? I think I discovered a glyph that lets me use fire magic!" Luz reached for her back. "Here, let me show you-"

"I insist, keep it to yourself," Boscha interrupted. "Last thing I need right now is for you to mess up and burn this place to the ground. Let's go, Skara."

The dark-skinned bard nodded, and she waved goodbye and congratulated the group before joining Boscha.


The rest of the day was fairly average, at least, for a bard student. Skara learned a couple new melodies that attracted a certain type of magical creature, and she played those tunes in her flute, hoping to memorize them for the next day-

*SMACK!*

"Stupid fairies!"

Skara stopped playing her flute and looked at Boscha wiping some fairies off her body, leaving behind glittery rainbow stains.

"Of all the melodies you could be taught today, it had to be one who attracted fairies?" the three-eyed Witch complained. "And do you really need to play it now!?"

"I'm sorry, Boscha, but I have to do this: how else am I supposed to memorize the melodies before this week's exam?" Skara shrugged and looked around. "Anyway, what are we looking for? I feel like we've been walking around in circles for a while now."

"Hmph, don't be impatient, Skara; we're getting close."

"Well, I'm not so much impatient as I'm worried: we should've gone back home as soon as we got out of Hexside and-"

"There it is!"

Skara flinched and turned to where Boscha was pointing at. Right where her finger was pointing, there was a large, oddly humanoid tree that was... walking around?

"Wait... is that-?"

"A Mandragora!" Boscha rubbed her palms and smirked. "Just perfect! Now if only we could only distract it somehow..."

Skara hummed. "I think I remember a song that entrances plant creatures. I should be able to entrance the Mandragora just the same."

"That's the Skara I know! Smart and reliable!" Boscha chirped with a sincere smile, causing Skara to blush. "Alright, I'll go hide somewhere nearby, you get that thing's attention!"

Skara nodded with a determined expression, and Boscha hid inside a bush. With that done, Skara whistled, and got the Mandragora's attention in an instant.

Skara took a deep breath, and closed her eyes as she played a soft, slow melody on her flute. The Mandragora's eyes began to glow, the beast taking a couple steps towards the bard student as the melody continued.

This kept going for a while... until Boscha jumped out of the bush and planted her hand inside the Mandragora's chest, the creature too entranced to notice.

Boscha clenched her fist as hard as she could, then pulled and pulled until she ripped something straight out: it resembled a massive seed, but the beating and veins covering it made it clear that it was the creature's heart.

Unfortunately, the visceral sounds that came from the removal prompted Skara to stop... at which point the Mandragora returned to reality.

"Boscha, what the-?!"

"You did your part well, Skara," Boscha stated as she clenched the heart tightly. "Now, it's my turn."

Boscha inserted her remaining hand on the hole in the Mandragora's chest, causing it to scream in pain.

"Firebolt!"

The hole glowed a vibrant red, and the beast's mouth, eyes, and cracks around its body gained a red glow that intensified as it cried in pain until eventually, the Mandragora was incinerated from the inside, leaving behind nothing but dust that was promptly blown away by the wind.

"Hmph, piece of cake," Boscha smirked. "Come on, Skara, our job here is done."

The bard student stood stunned for a moment before she snapped back to reality and followed the three-eyed Witch.

"Hey, Boscha, if you don't mind me asking," Skara frowned. "What are you planning to do with that heart?"

"Elementary, my dear Skara," Boscha threw the heart in the air and grabbed it again. "I'm gonna do what I do best."


Once back at home, at the kitchen, Boscha took out the Mandragora heart and placed it next to a cup filled with water, and a grinder.

Or maybe it was a shredder. She didn't know, it was that thing Humans use to shred food to bits.

Boscha cleaned the heart until it was completely clean, then began grinding the viscera into the cup. The resulting bits somehow resembled flakes, to boot.

"The movie's ready!" Skara chirped, suddenly barging into the room. "Let me know when you're done to play it!"

"Got it, Skara!" Boscha replied, focusing solely on the grinding. "What movie did you pick for tonight?"

"Your favorite one!"

A brief, joyful smile formed around Boscha's lips, but it vanished slightly as she focused on the heart.

"Do we really have to do this?"

Boscha raised an eyebrow and threw a confused look at Skara, who leaned against the doorframe.

"This whole... prank?"

"You can call it a prank if you want," Boscha turned back to the seed-shaped heart she was grinding. "But I like to think of this as, an exercise."

Skara blinked twice. "An exercise?"

"Today's Grudgby game opened my eyes to a lot of things," Boscha lowered her eyelids. "How things have changed since Amity became friends with that... Human..."

"Luz Noceda's her name, I think," Skara hummed. "And I've also heard that she and Willow are trying to rekindle their friendship-"

"And that's the part that bothers me," Boscha interjected. "Or at least, what Amity's doing."

"And that means?"

Boscha sternly put the heart and grinder down. "She's being a bad influence!"

Skara took a step back and clutched her chest. "I-I don't think I understand..."

Boscha let out a small sigh. She couldn't blame Skara for not getting what she was saying; the number of people who could understand her thought process without an explanation would be her parents and... actually, just her parents.

And they could rot in the Underworld for all she cared.

"Fine, let me explain: in this world, there are two types of people: The "Strong" and the "Weak." The Strong rule the world and the Weak with an iron fist, while the Weak try to survive living under the heels of the Strong. But between these two types, and even above them, there are many different variations."

"Is Amity a variation?"

"She is... the worst variation... a Soft," Boscha gritted her teeth with disgust. "A Strong who has rejected some of their strength to put themselves at the level of the Weak. A Strong who would rather lower themselves for the Weak. A Strong who would rather sacrifice their own growth, so the Weak don't have to grow and better themselves!"

Boscha took several deep breaths to try calm herself down, her eyes sporting a dangerous red glow that slowly vanished alongside her rage.

"I once thought Amity was one of the Strong. That she was one of the Strongest, who would help and protect the Weak while guiding them. But I was wrong. Now, she's gone Soft."

Thanks to that damn Human...

"And so," Skara hummed. "You think she's being a bad influence... because-?"

"Instead of forcing Willow to grow and develop like she used to, she lowered herself to her level, stunting both their growth in the process!" Boscha took a deep breath. "But, the good news is, I'm not Amity. I'm not a Soft. I'm a Strong; one of the Strongest... an Apex."

Skara grimaced. "Apex?"

"Someone who not only protects the Strong and Weak alike, but forces them to grow and better themselves. That's what I am, Skara. I'm... an Apex."

Once the grinding was finished, Boscha crushed what remained of the heart and watched some liquid pour into the cup, giving the drink a green color.

"And tomorrow... I will give her no choice but to admit it."

Skara hummed for a moment, then walked off to get the movie ready. Boscha then moved the liquid around with a spoon, internally hoping that this would get the job done.

'Cause if it didn't...


The next day came, and while walking across the Hexside hallways with Skara by her side, Boscha looked at what she held in her hand: a potion with the green liquid stored inside.

"So, what exactly's the plan for that potion, Boscha?"

"You don't need to know everything about my plan, Skara," Boscha replied, ruffling Skara's hair. "You just need to play your part after I do mine, okay?"

"Uh, okay... what am I supposed to do again?"

"Just go get Willow when I tell you to."

Skara nodded with slight unease, and kept walking by Boscha's side. Until eventually, they reached what they were look.

Or in this case, who they were looking for: Amity Blight.

"Hmhmhm, there she is," Boscha smirked. "Now, Skara, stay here and watch."

Boscha held the potion close to her chest as she approached Amity, caught her breath... and said the one thing that always managed to get her attention...

"Amity Calamity!"

Her childhood nickname.

"Boscha?!" Amity shouted, getting defensive as she snapped her locker shut. "W-What do you want?!"

"I just wanted to congratulate you for the Grudgby match yesterday! It was a great game!" Boscha sighed. "Sadly, I wasn't in the best state of mind back then, so I couldn't give you a proper trophy for it."

"Oh don't worry, we don't need a trophy," Amity folded her arms and smirked. "Beating you and proving you're not as hot as you think you are's a good reward on its own."

Don't incinerate her, don't incinerate her, don't incinerate her, she must be alive so Willow can prove her worth!

"Anyhow," Boscha revealed the potion. "I made a little something for you! It's a drink that'll help Willow expand her horizons and-"

Boscha snatched the potion back as soon as Amity tried to grab it.

"You didn't let me finish."

"I don't need to!" Amity growled. "Knowing you, that potion's got something on it! Poison, paralysis, just something that'll hurt Willow!"

Any worse than your own, condescending Softness has hurt her?

"Well, I was gonna give this to you, so you could give this to her," Boscha walked past Amity. "But clearly, that was a mistake, so I'll go do that myself-"

Amity grabbed the back of Boscha's uniform. "Don't you dare."

"Dare to do what?"

"You know what I mean!"

Boscha faced Amity with a smug smile, then offered the potion to her. Amity snatched, opened it... and then threw the potion to the ground, spilling its contents entirely.

But unlike what Amity expected, this didn't remove the smug smirk from Boscha's face.

"What's so funny?" Amity glared. "I just destroyed your potion! You can do nothing about it now!"

Boscha snickered. "Oh, really?"

Without warning, a pair of arm-like vines sprouted and grabbed Amity's body as the ground shook... and a familiar creature emerged.

"A Mandragora?!" Amity exclaimed.

"Ding ding ding, we got a winner!" Boscha clasped her hands. "The potion was created using the grinded heart of a Mandragora, with a little blood from it for good measure."

Skara's eyes widened. "That's why we went Mandragora hunting, didn't we? To create an artificial Mandragora?!"

"Is there a problem with it?"

"You could've made a dozen different potions with a Mandragora heart, and you chose to make the most dangerous one!" Skara pulled her hair. "You've gotten away with a lot of things, Boscha, but this is something even Principal Bump cannot turn a blind eye at!"

"Whether he turns a blind eye doesn't matter," Boscha looked at Skara. "What matters is that a certain someone comes to Amity Calamity's rescue."

Skara stood stunned for a moment, shocked at the fact Boscha would go so far for a simple lesson. But she soon realized standing still wouldn't help anybody, so she bolted in search for Willow, leaving Boscha and Amity behind to throw daggers at each other.


Luz wasn't quite sure what she expected when she opened her locker, but a letter written by Boscha was definitely out of the question.

However, what truly caught her attention was what was written on it:

Human, this is Boscha. If you haven't crumpled this letter and thrown it away after saying that, then let me be blunt with you.

It's become painfully clear to me that Amity has a thing for you, just as how it's clear that you can't see the obvious hints.

Amity likes you. Not as a classmate, not as Grudgby player, not as just a friend, or any other dumb stuff you might be thinking of. She likes you as a love interest.

She loves you romantically.

Unfortunately, I know Amity well enough to know that she won't take the first step even if her life depended on it. She's extremely stubborn, you see.

If this relationship is to bloom, and Amity is to stop making a fool of herself, the responsibility falls onto your shoulders, Human.

So, I'm asking you... begging you... take the first step, and go out with Amity. I fear that's the only way she'll stop humilliating herself.

With high expectations, Boscha.

P.S.: If you tell anybody I said anything on this letter, I'll burn you alive.

Luz closed the letter and put it on her pocket, taking out some of her books before she closed her locker.

Amity was in love with her? Sure, she had been acting a little weird since they became friends, but Luz just assumed Amity had no idea how to be friends with a human.

But if Amity was in love with her-

"WILLOOOW!"

Luz jumped and turned around, barely getting a chance to catch her breath before Skara ran up to her, visibly panicking.

"Where's Willow?! It's urgent!"

"Skara, calm down," Luz asked. "Take a deep breath and tell me, what do you need Willow for?"

"It's Amity! B-B-Boscha, p-potions, m-m-m-mandragora! Danger! Need Willow now!"

Luz nodded and grabbed Skara's hand. While she was lost as to the full message, she did understand that Amity was in danger and that Willow could somehow help her.

"Follow me."


Boscha only expected Amity to annoy her today. But right now, she had trouble believing what she was seeing.

A couple students stood around as Amity formed circle after circle, trying to do some kind of damage to the artificial Mandragora, but to no avail.

Amity trying to ruin Willow's time to shine was already bad enough, but the students standing around doing nothing were even worse. One of their classmates was in danger, the most popular student at that, and the best they could come up with was stand at the sidelines and look worried?

Cast a spell! Get a teacher! Do something to actually show you care that Amity's life is in danger!

Granted, Boscha probably would stop them if they tried that, but trying and failing was better than not trying at all!

"Amity!"

Finally, Skara came back with Willow and Human!

"What happened here?!" Willow asked, before gasping at the Mandragora. "Where did that thing come from?!"

"It's all Boscha's fault!" Amity snapped, drawing a circle to summon some Abominations... which were soundly beaten by the Mandragora. "She brought a potion that could revive a Mandragora into the school!"

Boscha just shrugged with a cocky smile.

"We gotta do something about this!" Luz ran through her bag. "I might have some glyphs that-"

"Will magically fix everything?"

Luz froze, and when she looked up, she saw Boscha glaring at her, smiling smugly as she said:

"Do you really think it's gonna be that easy? I'll admit that you've been making quite a lot of progress, Human, but just because you make progress doesn't mean you can fix everything. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of creatures and ailments that you don't know about! And this just so happens to be one of them! I mean, what were you planning to do, use a fire glyph to burn it away? I hate to tell this to you, Human, but if there's anybody here that can do something about it..."

Boscha faced Willow and pointed at her.

"It's her!"

"M-Me?!" Willow exclaimed.

"You're a prodigy with plant magic, and Mandragoras are nothing more than walking, sentient trees," Boscha folded her arms. "If you can use your magic to control the Mandragora, you can make it release Amity! And before you start asking for alternatives, there are none."

Boscha faced Skara. "Isn't that right, Skara?"

Everybody faced the bard, who lowered her head as she explained:

"When a Mandragora is revived, it takes the strengths and weaknesses of the ground from which it sprouted from. If this Mandragora had been revived on a forest or the like, it'd be exactly the same before death. But since this one sprouted from Hexside, it has as much endurance as the building, and a resistance to all kinds of magic except plant magic."

"And there you go: there's only one thing that can be done, and that's for someone with proficiency at plant magic to take control of the beast," Boscha narrowed her eyes. "So what are you waiting for? Take control of the Mandragora, or else Amity might not be long for this world-"

But then, the Mandragora cried in pain. And a single look revealed why: Principal Bump had ripped out the creature's heart, crushing it so it would crumble to dust.

He then caught Amity as she fell, and put her on the ground as he turned to Boscha and stated:

"Boscha, I'd like to see you in my office."


Boscha had no idea why she was here. Okay, that was a lie, she knew why she was at the principal's office, what she didn't understand was why the principal was looking at her with disapproval.

She had just finished explaining why she revived the Mandragora, and how it was for the better so Amity could stop babying Willow. But given his expression, her words fell on deaf ears.

"So, to try convince Amity that Willow wasn't as weak as she thought, you revived a Mandragora, which could potentially hurt other students if it wasn't stopped?"

"Willow could've stopped it! Scratch that, she would've stopped it!" Boscha snapped. "She's more than capable!"

"Strong enough to do it, perhaps, but she's not capable. No matter what you've been lead to believe, Boscha, strength and capability aren't one and the same. For example, look at the new student,  Luz Noceda."

Ugh, that damn Human again?

"She's capable of casting magic unlike anything we've seen before, but she's not that strong: she's actually physically weaker than most students here."

She's stronger than Amity. That's all that matters.

"Save the condescending ignorance for another day, Bump," Boscha growled. "What do I have to give you so we can leave this thing in the past?"

The principal took a deep breath and clasped his hands.

That wasn't a good sign.

"Boscha, we've been through this before. Many times, I've let you slide from the consequences of your actions. I even humored the idea of letting you get away with murder. But with this stunt, you could've endangered the entire school. And that's not something I can let you get away with."

Goddammit, Skara, of all the times you could be right, why today!?

"Therefore, while your family's power is far too great for me to expel you, I'm giving you a full week suspension."

Suspension!?

"That'll give you more than enough time to think about what you did."

This was an outrage! An insult! An... outsult!

Why was she being punished like this!? All she did was try to teach Amity that Willow didn't need a babysitter, and she was rewarded with suspension?! What kind of sick joke was this!?

"I... I..."

"Boscha, we're done with this discussion," Bump stated sternly. "Now please, go to your classroom. Your class is about to start."


Ever since the Mandragora event, Boscha was... well, there was no easy way to say this nicely: she was far more terrifying than usual.

No energy, no arrogance, no cocky smiles, nothing. Just her head hanging low while she walked, refusing to see the world around her.

Skara knew that when Boscha was either quiet or refusing to see the world, things were bad, but both at the same time?

She was a time bomb waiting to explode.

"So, uh, Boscha," the bard student blurted. "W-Would you like to come to my house?"

Boscha said nothing.

"W-We could practice spells, or dance while I play a little tune, or... or... j-just... hang out?"

Still nothing.

"Boscha, I know today was a bad day, but you can't let it get you down. S-Sure, your plan didn't go as you wanted, but it's not the end of the world. I'm sure after this week-"

But then, Skara noticed something: Boscha was walking away from Hexside... and straight into the forest.

Skara followed her cautiously, hoping that Boscha's lit was still a few minutes away from making her explode.

But before long, and to her shock, Skara found herself and Boscha in the middle of the same spot where the Mandragora was originally killed...

And then, Boscha stopped.

"B-Boscha?"

The three-eyed Witch clenched her fist, and gritted her teeth, snarling like a rabid dog as her eyes began glowing red...

"Bo-"

"GRAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

The ground beneath Boscha scorched up as she began jumping up and down, summoning and throwing fireballs at the surrounding trees while yelling at the top of her lungs:

"Damn you, Amity! This is all your fault! All you had to do was convince Willow to help and you would've learned your lesson! That Willow didn't need you to hold her hand! And yet you screwed it all up!"

"B-But," Skara stammered, keeping a fair distance away from the volatile Witch. "Principal Bump was the one who suspended you-"

"KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

This time, Boscha's screams echoed across the forest... and straight to Hexside.

A fact Skara quickly realized.

"B-B-Boscha, they're gonna come here! After that massive shout, there's no way they won't come investigate!" Skara exclaimed, slowly approaching the Witch. "I know you're angry, but you gotta calm down!"

"AND YOU GOTTA LEARN YOUR PLACE!"

Boscha aimed her palm at Skara and released a fireball, striking her shoulder hard enough to make her slide back...

And with this action, Boscha paused and regained her composure...

"Oh no... nonononono, Skara!"

Boscha ran to the bard's side and helped her stand up: Skara gritted her teeth and groaned as steam came from her shoulder, the piece of the uniform covering it not only incinerated, but revealing notable burns.

"Oh no, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to-"

"Boscha!" Skara snapped, shutting up her friend. "Listen to me... you gotta run!"

"What?!"

"The Mandragora incident already put you in a bad spot, but injuring another student? If Principal Bump... no, if my parents find out about this, they're gonna want your head in a pike!"

"They'd go that far?!"

Skara put a hand on Boscha's cheek.

"Boscha, listen to me. Your last scream was so potent it was probably heard all the way over to Hexside. Somebody's going to come here, and if they see us both together... well, you already know. So please, run away!"

"But what about you?!"

"I'll be fine... with an injury this bad, I might be transferred to the Healing track, like I wanted to."

Boscha began to tear up. "Skara..."

And so did Skara. "Go, now!"

The three-eyed potion student took a couple steps back, then began to ran deeper into the forest. But not before she faced Skara one more and mouthed:

I'm sorry.

Skara smiled and mouthed back:

I know.

And so, Boscha ran as Skara fell to her knees, groaning in pain as a group of Hexside students reached her... and among those students were Amity and Luz.

"Skara!"


This day was officially Boscha's worst day ever.

First her Mandragora plan wound up a complete failure.

Then she got suspended over it.

And now she was on the run after accidentally hurting her only friend in a fit of rage.

And even if she was found, what would come next? An expulsion and death sentence, perhaps, especially if Skara's parents had as much political power as her parents had lead her to believe.

It was too much. Way too much.

"Can this damn day get any worse!?"

A sudden, vibrant green light startled Boscha and stopped her on her tracks. The Witch opened her eyes, and in front of her was... what were those Human vehicles called again? It was long and consisted of a bunch of cars connected to one another.

Was it a rollercoaster? Boscha decided to go with that for now.

Once it stopped, the rollercoaster opened one of its doors, revealing a green portal that didn't show what was on other side.

The offer was obvious, comically so, but Boscha couldn't really refuse it. Not when she couldn't back down at this point.

So, against what her mind told her, Boscha walked through the portal... and in the blink of an eye, landed somewhere nice.

Well, as nice as an academy in ruins could be.

"Out of the way!"

Boscha stepped to the side, and a... peculiar entity ran... well, floated, past her: a crystal ball with the most simplistic face she had ever seen.

"Oh, wait a minute!" the ball exclaimed. "Are you a passenger?"

"... Passenger?"

"Sorry, force of habit. Can you do magic, is what I meant?"

Boscha opened her palm and summoned a fireball before dissipating it with a clench of her fist.

"Oh, that's perfect!" the crystal ball chirped. "I'm so sorry to ask this of you, but could you help me drive away the intruders?!"

Boscha faced the academy. "The ones inside that place?"

"I mean, it's the only building on this car..."

Boscha hummed about it for a moment. She did need some stress relief after what just happened, and since Skara wasn't around, she wouldn't need to worry about hurting her again...

"Hey, crystal ball, what's your name?"

"My name?" the crystal ball asked. "It's Chris, why?"

"Well then, Chris," Boscha flashed a confident smirk. "Take me to those intruders."

Chapter Text

And here's the next chapter of Infinity Train: Boiling Point! This one will continue where we left off last chapter, and if anything, I can guarantee that Boscha will be quite complicated by the end of this chapter.

Also, I'm gonna start incorporating more crossover elements from other shows, but the one I will NOT do is Silent Hill. At that point I'm just ripping off Blossoming Trail.

Also, I don't want to. XD

Once again thanks to Green_Phantom_Queen for inspiring me to make this story.

So, without further ado, onto the chapter!

~Normal Inner Boscha~

~Apex Inner Boscha~


Alright, Skara, while I can't transfer you to the Healing track over this injury, I can at least permit the nurse to place a healing glyph on your shoulder to speed up the healing. However, I want you to head home as soon as you can, understood?

Those words echoed in Skara's mind as she walked down the hallways, her burnt shoulder not only covered in bandages, but with a glowing glyph from the Healing track marked on them.

Nobody looked at her as she walked down the hallway, though she wasn't quite sure why. Then again, this was better than the looks of distrust she got in general, so she had no complaints there.

"Skara, wait!"

The dark-skinned bard stopped and turned around, her eyelids lifting at the sight of Luz running up to her.

"Oh, thank goodness you didn't leave!" she said. "How's your shoulder doing? Are you feeling well?"

"Um... yeah..." Skara glanced at her shoulder. "It feels a little weird with the healing glyph and everything, but I'll get used to it." she raised an eyebrow. "Do you... need something?"

Luz scanned her surroundings, and once she verified nobody was looking, she took out a crumbled piece of paper that, once unfolded, revealed a very familiar letter.

"I found this letter on my locker before the Mandragora attacked," Luz whispered as Skara grabbed the letter. "You hang around Boscha most of the time, so, I was hoping you could tell me if this is good or bad."

Skara quickly skimmed the letter, but paused upon seeing a particular sentence:

With high expectations.

That statement was no joke, especially from Boscha. And to think the one getting this message was the only human in Hexside...

Skara glanced at Luz, who was having trouble standing still.

"Are you done? You're done aren't you? Give it to me straight: is it good? Bad? A prank?!"

Skara flashed a smile and pocketed the letter. "How about we go eat something while we talk about this?"

"Gasp! Am I in trouble?!"

Skara shook her head. "Not at all. Trust me, it'll all make sense soon..."


Boscha walked around the ruins of the academy, her calm, disinterested expression being blatantly unfitting for the destruction that surrounded her.

"So, Chris, right?" Boscha raised an eyebrow. "What happened to this place? Why is it so messed up?"

"This is Mana Academy, an institution where magic-wielding passengers can learn to hone their skills in order to have a better chance at... well, surviving their journey on the train," the sentient crystal ball explained as he guided Boscha across the place. "However, because there's a clear difference between magical potentials and the damage they could do, the building lowers all magical power within a passenger automatically."

Boscha narrowed her eyes as she attempted to use her fire abilities, but only manage to conjure a single fireball. "And that's how the intruders managed to cause so much damage, right? They took advantage of the lowered magic output?"

"Unfortunately, yes," the crystal ball frowned. "Despite having great magical potential, most of the students here don't have much physical strength. Or non-magical combat training, for that matter-"

"Seriously?! Lacking one of those things is bad, but both? You're practically asking to be invaded and ransacked!" Boscha growled, partially angry, partially disappointed. "Look, is the whole "lower magical potential" thing something that can be undone? If this place is being attacked, then the students won't be able to do much unless they use their full potential."

"Hmm, I believe it can be undone, but we need to go deep inside the building, and there's the chance we'll come across some resistance-"

"Perfect, let's go."

Boscha walked away, and the crystal ball hastily got in front of her and guided her down the actual path.

The duo walked across several hallways, some more destroyed than others, with pieces of rubble laying on the ground.

"So, what else can you tell me about the intruders? Names, origins, favorite dessert, anything at all?"

"Well, I can only tell you what I got from their attack: they're a group of humans who pillage and ransack any Car they come across, killing any Denizens that get in their way," Chris hummed in thought. "Oh, and they go by a peculiar name. I think it was... the Apex."

Suddenly, Boscha stomped the ground and stopped, her eyes narrowing into a furious scowl as the aura of her fury was so strong, the living crystal ball froze in place.

"What, did you say, was their name!?"

Chris shivered, sweating all over his spherical body. "The... A-Apex..."

Boscha seemingly calmed down soon after, or at the very least, her aura didn't emanate the intent to murder anymore.

"Alright then, so they chose to call themselves the Apex. All I gotta do is find them and show them what a real Apex is all about!" Boscha looked around. "Say, are we getting any closer to the source of the magical stunting?"

Chris raised an eyebrow. "Magical stunting?"

"The thing that lowers magical potential."

"Oh, well, yeah, we're almost there," Chris grimaced. "We just need to check up on one more thing before we go there."

Boscha raised an eyebrow. "And that is?"

"Hello there, Chris."

The duo stopped, and turned around, spotting a blue-skinned, smiling bust with open eyes.

"Why am I not surprised that the first time you come to visit me it's when the academy's in danger?"

"Ma'am, this is Lapis Lazuli," Chris said, not taking his eyes off the bust. "She's one of many Denizens on the Infinity Train, and one of two who tried to assault the academy in the past. She now works as an exposition bust regarding safety measures; if anybody knows where to find the core of the stunting, it's her. At least, I think."

"Wow, so not only are you currently being invaded, but you've already been invaded once?" Boscha folded her arms and shook her head. "And you learned nothing from the first time it happened?"

"Truth be told, there was nothing to be learned," Lapis sighed. "Phosphophyllite and I... we were simply no match for their defenses. The Apex, the current invaders, just so happens to be stronger, both in cunning and in numbers."

Boscha narrowed her eyes and walked towards the bust, squinting her eyes while she stretched her hand towards her.

"Wait, what are you doing?"

"This third eye I got isn't just for show."

And then, Boscha put her fingers on Lapis' face, both the bust and the witch's eyes glowing as Boscha saw Lapis' memories...


Lapis and a greenhaired, androgynous entity stood at the outskirts of the academy, back when it was in perfect state.

"There it is, Phosphophyllite," Lapis stated with a tiny smile. "Mana Academy."

"It looks... like an academy," Phos remarked, raising an eyebrow. "But are you sure there are Gems being kept inside?"

"I saw them: they were screaming and kicking as the heartless entities that govern the academy dragged them inside," Lapis lowered her head, frowning as she faked a concerned tone. "They said something about grinding them in order to use their magical properties, or something."

Phos gasped, and glared at the building. "We gotta get them out of there!"

"You mean you'll get them out of there."

Phos flinched and turned around, facing Lapis with shock as she explained:

"I'm a strategist, Phosphophyllite. I'm not a fighter."

"But... neither am I..."

"That's what everybody thinks. But I don't. I can see that there's more to you than meets the eye, Phosphophyllite. If there's anybody here who can save those helpless Gems, it's you."

Phos took a moment to process the information, then eyed the building, know what they were about to do was more than likely insane.

And yet, they took a deep breath, and bolted forward, screaming as loudly as they could as they marched forward...

For a few seconds before several runes appeared from nowhere and sprouted spikes, piercing and shattering Phosphophyllite's body instantly.

And the most Lapis could muster at the sight was a disappointed sigh.

"I guess I expected too much from you, Phosphophyllite. At least, your sacrifice did confirm that assaulting this place was a bad idea. Time to go and regroup-"

Without warning, Lapis was decapitated.


Once the memory was over, Boscha and Lapis returned to reality, the former's eyes contorting into a furious scowl as a pair of voices spoke to her in her mind:

~That... wasn't very nice, but-~

~Wasn't very nice!?! They outright used their companion to appease their own curiosity!~

~I know, but-~

~But nothing! In this world, it's kill or be killed! And those who use their companions to save themselves deserve to die!~

~But... should she go that far?~

~Remember what mother said: you must kill the world before the world kills you. And this seems like a good place to start!~

Then, she squeezed... until Lapis' face cracked.

"OW! What was that for!?"

"You know exactly what was that for," Boscha growled. "Now, it's time you put your part."

"Fine! Fine! I'll take you to the source of the stunting!"

"Good, and while we're at it."

Boscha turned to Chris. "Are Phosphophyllite's remains here?"


"So, Boscha having high expectations of me... means that she trusts me?"

That sentence alone made every gear on Luz's head turn. Until this point, Boscha had come across as the archetypical high school bully: mean, condescending, mean, malicious, mean, willing to rub her apparent superiority over everybody else, mean, did she mention she was mean? 'Cause she was really mean.

And yet, according to Skara, she only acted like that to help? Luz could only hope Skara's explanation could put things into perspective.

"Boscha doesn't see the world the same as we do. To her, there are only Strong and Weak people, and the Strongest of them all should protect and help them grow no matter what."

"So, going by what you said," Luz clasped her hands. "Boscha's only as mean as she is... because she wants to help?"

"Because she wants people to stand up for themselves," Skara clarified. "Think of it like this: there's two people, a bully and a victim. Two more people arrive, one fights off the bully, and the other helps the victim stand up and learn how to fight back. Which of these characters is Boscha?"

"Aw man, you didn't warn me we were gonna have a quiz! We're supposed to be at lunch!" Luz hummed and scratched her chin. "She's, uh, the bully! Nah, that's too easy... the guy who fights back? The guy who teaches how to fight back!"

"All of them."

Luz blinked twice. "All of them?"

"She's the bully, because she demeans and insults everybody she meets. She's the guy who fights back, because she doesn't stand by and let people stunt the growth of other people. And she's the guy who teaches how to fight back because, in her own, bizarre way, that's what she's doing."

"Oooooh... that's confusing," Luz raised an eyebrow. "What about the victim? Does Boscha count as a victim?"

Skara lowered her head, looking visibly upset.

"I mean, is that what she told you, or is it something that you came up with?"

"Something I came up with, but, let's talk about something else," Skara tilted her head. "How does it feel being the first student to do every single track in Hexside?"

"Well, if I'm to be completely honest, it doesn't feel any different than what I used to do back on Earth," Luz looked at the ceiling. "Even the teachers and I don't see eye to eye."

"To be fair, you're the first student to study every track," Skara frowned. "And given your... quirkyness..."

"Yeah, I know, but they'll just have to deal with it," Luz flexed her nerd muscles. "I chose to study at Hexside and I'm not going away anytime soon!"

Skara smiled. "Now I can see why Boscha holds you in high regard. She'd definitely approve of that comment."

"I'll be sure to tell it to her when she returns, then!" Luz chirped. "Although, do you think she'll like it?"

"Again, she sees the world in a different way than all of us. I wouldn't be able to say for sure."

Luz and Skara nodded in agreement and began to eat their food. They kept at it for a while, until a familiar voice spoke:

"Luz?"

The human turned around, and next to her were Amity and Willow, the latter looking visibly worried at Skara.

"Oh hi, Amity! Willow!" Luz patted the empty seat next to her. "Would you like to sit with us?"

"Sit with you? Sure," Amity glared at Skara. "Sit with her? I don't think so."

Willow promptly sat by Skara's side. "How's your arm doing? Has it healed?"

"Yeah, especially since the healing glyph has begun taking effect," Skara sighed. "I should be fully healed up by tomorrow."

"Wait, there's a healing glyph?!" Luz exclaimed. "I thought the nurse put a spell on you or something!"

"I told you about it as soon as you came up to me, remember?" Skara pointed out.

"It's pretty much the same thing, Luz," Amity stated as she sat down next to the human student. "Even so, don't get cocky, Skara. Just because this wound will heal up in time doesn't mean Boscha won't give you another one eventually."

Skara gritted her teeth, but kept her mouth shut, prompting a smirk from Amity.

"Amity, don't you think you're being a little mean?" Luz asked, frowning in disapproval. "Skara's shoulder got burned, couldn't you be a bit more sympathetic?"

"Knowing her, Skara decided to stay close to Boscha even as she blew up, and she became collateral damage as a consequence," Amity raised an eyebrow. "Am I wrong?"

Skara narrowed her eyes, her good hand forming into a fist that shook viciously... but it didn't take long before it stopped.

"No, you're not."

Amity nodded. "But anyway, we should probably talk about something else. You got something on your mind, Luz?"

"Besides my brain? Let's see..."

Luz noticed Skara's stare, and watched closely as she worded:

Ask her out.

At that moment, Boscha's letter returned to Luz, and the human narrowed her eyes with determination.

"Actually, Amity, there is one thing," Luz turned to Amity. "Something I'd like to ask you!"

Amity blushed and flinched. "M-Me?"

Luz glanced at Skara, who nodded with an approving smile and thumbs up. Then, Luz grabbed Amity's hand and said:

"Amity Blight... would you go out with me?!"

Amity went silent as her face turned completely red...

*THUD!*


Boscha grabbed the blue sentient bust with a hand and held her over her shoulder as she and Chris walked across the hallways, Lapis taking the moment to explain some things:

"I heard from a trustworthy source that Gems were being held here, their magical properties being used to power up several items. While they couldn't confirm if they were the same gems as the ones from the Lustrous Car, I still felt compelled to come here and check it out for myself."

"But you didn't know if you could survive the security measures," Boscha narrowed her eyes. "And so you used one of your friends to sate your curiosity."

"I wouldn't call Phosphophyllite a friend, I'd say they're more like a co-worker," Lapis rolled their eyes. "And besides, if you think I did something wrong, they had it worse back in the Lustrous Car: being seen as useless by everybody around them, unable to do even the simplest tasks. You should've seen the smile they had on their face when I asked them to come with me on a mission."

Boscha wasn't quite convinced of Lapis' honesty, but she decided to leave that thought for later.

"Chris, could those two have managed to go into this academy if they just walked to the door and asked nicely?"

"They wouldn't have gotten close enough; going by the memory you just witnessed, they struck during the day, where absolutely nobody can get past the trap runes," Chris frowned. "We had to increase the security to such an extreme when the Apex began hopping onto more Cars."

The Apex again? I swear, if end I up meeting any of those jerks, I'm gonna show them what a real Apex is like!

"Oh hey, here we are!"

The trio stopped and looked around: they found themselves at a large library, filled with bookshelves after bookshelves filled with books of all sorts of topics.

"Okay, now I just gotta ask," Boscha glared at Lapis. "Why did we need to bring the bust to a library?" 

"Phosphophyllite must be here somewhere," Lapis replied. "If we can find where the stones are being kept, I should be able to recognize their shards."

"Actually, are there even magical rocks in here?" Boscha glared at Chris. "Last thing I need to know is that those things didn't even exist!"

"Oh no, they do exist, we just keep them well hidden around here," Chris answered nonchalantly as he flew around, scanning the books. "After all, things would be very problematic if we left such powerful stones out in public, don't you think?"

Boscha rolled her eyes and began checking the bookshelves herself. Don't take this the wrong way, but she didn't quite know if she could trust a sentient crystal ball whose only real ability was to act as a guide for the academy.

So, in one of the weirdest moments in her life, she began searching the shelves... and then found something.

"Hey, Chris?" Boscha took out a book. "What's a copy of the Good Witch Azura Compendium doing here?"

"Oh, the academy copies magic-related books from all around the multiverse, and they get added here automatically."

Boscha scanned the cover. "Can I take this with me?"

"I mean, you could, but depending on how long you stay on the Train, it might not be relevant by the time you leave."

Skara loves this series, that's all that matters. I'll keep it to myself and see what happens. Besides, these books sell for a fortune, so I win either way.

Boscha saved the book... somewhere, and kept looking, though it didn't take long before she heard something open.

"Aha! I got it!"

The girl turned around and saw Chris standing next to an open bookshelf, revealing a secret entrance.

The logistics of how a crystal ball with no arms managed to open the bookshelf were tempting, but Boscha knew she had better things to do.

So the group walked inside, and down a hallway that showcased all sorts of rocks and gems, with some odd items thrown into the mix, like wands and stuff.

"So, what do you keep here, exactly?" Boscha asked. "Battle trophies?"

"Just about anything with magical properties, really: weapons, rocks, cloaks, and the like."

"There are so many things in here," Lapis frowned. "I can only imagine how Phosphophyllite is feeling right now."

"Oh, so now you care about them!" Boscha scoffed. "After throwing them into a barrage of spikes without a care, now you worry for their safety?!"

"I was decapitated and knocked unconscious. Even when I regained my senses, I was a bust; what was I supposed to do? Ask nicely if Phosphophyllite was alright?"

Excuses, excuses...

"Oh no!"

The group ran to Chris, who hovered above an empty pedestal with "Phosphophyllite" written on it.

"It's gone!"

"What's gone?!"

"The box! There was a box here that contained the shards of the one called Phosphophyllite!" Chris scanned the pedestal with visible worry. "Somebody must've stole it when the Apex arrived!"

Boscha's eyes widened. "Or maybe even the Apex itself stole it."

"Well, good news is that even if they stole it, they wouldn't really find anything of value with those shards," Lapis remarked. "Phosphophyllite is many things, but magical isn't one of them. They'll probably just kill them if they get the chance. What a pity."

Boscha fist began to shake, and after taking a deep breath, she hissed:

"... You know what? I think I've heard you long enough."

"I agree, so, could you put me back on my pedestal?"

Boscha chuckled to herself, tightening her grip on Lapis' hair as she did.

"No."

"Hmm?"

"Let me put it this way: ever since I saw your memories, you've done nothing but say things that either piss me off, or really piss me off. And nobody pisses me off and gets away with it, especially when they betray one of their comrades in doing so!"

Boscha flashed a sadistic grin. "And so, I think it's time for a punishment!"

Before Lapis could reply, Boscha raised her bust high...

"And I know just what to do!"

And slammed it against the ground, shattering it completely upon impact. Even the hair shattered into bits, as if it was just as crystalline as Lapis' body.

With that done, Boscha threw away the hair left in her hand, and dusted herself, walking away as Chris looked at the shards... and saw them flinch.

"Um, Boscha, I don't think that was enough," the crystal ball said as he floated by the witch's side. "I could see the shards flinching for a moment. There's a chance their consciousness is still there."

"By that logic, Phosphophyllite is in a similar situation," Boscha responded, barely paying attention to the shivering blue shards of Lapis. "And I don't know about you, but I don't give two Palisman droppings about Lapis right now. Let's just go look for those shards and get out of here."

Chris hummed. "Boscha, is there any particular reason you wish to get to Phosphophyllite?"

Boscha fell silent, though to be fair, something else had caught her attention at the moment: as soon as the duo walked out of the passage, Boscha spotted a brunette girl with an eyepatch looking around, gripping a harpoon gun as she did.

"Hey!"

The girl flinched and immediately aimed her harpoon at the source of the shout.

"Freeze! Or I'll shoot!"

Boscha rolled her eyes, then simply walked towards the kid until the harpoon was inches away from her chest. And yet, the girl didn't shoot.

"Alright, I'll be nice and assume you didn't hear me the first time-"

"Nobody has time for this crap, kid!" Boscha yelled, swatting the gun away as the girl hit the ground. "Now tell me, who are you?"

"I-I-I'm Lucy! I'm just a passenger trying to look for something, please don't hurt me!"

"Wait, those markings," Chris flinched, floating to Boscha's side. "They're the same markings as the Apex!"

"Oh really now?" Boscha raised an eyebrow. "You're a member of the Apex?"

Hearing this, Lucy stood up, dusted herself, and put her hands on her hips, proclaiming:

"That's right! I'm a member of the rulers of the Infinity Train, the Apex!"

Talk about a mood changer.

~So, the Apex are just a group of kids?~

~She's a member of the Apex that's all that matters. And if she knows where they are...~

"The rulers of the Infinity Train, hmm?" Boscha smirked. "I'm interested. Think you could guide me to them?"

"Boscha?" Chris asked, only to be shushed by the girl.

"Huh, really? Most people aren't really interested in seeing the Apex," Lucy raised an eyebrow and tilted her head. "Do you want something in particular?"

~Talk things out, maybe-~

~Kill them 'till they die from it!~

"Nothing, really. I'd just like to meet them."

"Well, I'd like a better reason than that!"

Ugh, I hope the rest of the Apex isn't this bratty. But then again, that means I can discipline them without being called out...

"I see, so that's how it is? Well, kid," Boscha chuckled. "You're going to find that I'm..."

~Wait, what am I doing?!?~

Boscha snapped her fingers, summoning a fireball as she walked closer to Lucy.

~Showing I'm the True Apex!~

"Very persuasive."


It had been a while since Amity collapsed and was taken to the infirmary. Luz, Skara, and Willow sat outside, trying to pass time while Amity recovered.

"Well, I didn't see that coming," Luz remarked nonchalantly.

"None of us did, really," Willow frowned. "Why did you ask Amity to go out with you, though? That's a little random, even for you."

Luz glanced at Skara, who nodded slightly, and Luz grimaced, hoping Willow would take the news well.

"Well, I found a letter on my locker that revealed that Amity developed a crush on me... somehow."

"Wait, that's all it took to make you find out about Amity's crush on you? Dang it, now I owe Gus a bouquet of flowers for the Human Appreciation Society," Willow pouted. "Anyway, who wrote the letter?"

"Boscha."

"Wait, Boscha wrote the letter that told you about Amity's feelings?!" Willow exclaimed in disbelief. "And you believed her?!"

"Well, yeah," Luz shrugged. "I mean, she's got a third eye: surely that means she can see things that most people miss, right?"

Willow rubbed her forehead. "Luz-"

"Luz?"

The trio turned around, and to their relief, Amity was as good as new, though with a bandage wrapped around her forehead.

"You're back!" Luz chirped, jumping up and getting right on Amity's face. "Are you okay?!"

"Uh... yeah, but the nurse says I should try to rest a bit, so I must go home as soon as I can," Amity blushed. "And about your request..."

Luz snapped her fingers. "Oh, right, the going out with me thing! Are you up for it?"

Amity's blush intensified, but rather than panic like before, she slowly made eye contact with Luz and stammered:

"I-I guess I am... I-If you're okay with it..."

Luz hugged Amity. "I am!"

"Ow!"

"Oh, sorry, sorry!" Luz separated from Amity and smiled sheepishly. "My bad!"

"Well, looks like something nice is blooming here, good luck with that," Skara said as she stood up. "I'm going home. Dad must be wondering where I am-"

Skara took a few steps before being stopped by Amity.

"Isn't there something you want to tell me before you go?"

Skara hummed for a moment as she looked at the ceiling, only to be snapped back to reality by Amity's response:

"Apologize!"

"H-Huh?! What for?!"

"Boscha might be the one who had the brilliant idea for the Mandragora, but she's not here to accept responsibility, is she?" Amity narrowed her eyes. "You're her partner in-crime, so you gotta pick up the slack!"

"Amity!" Willow exclaimed, visibly upset.

"Oh, pipe down, Willow!" Amity glared at Skara. "She's Boscha's partner, surely she had to know about the Mandragora!"

"I-I didn't!" Skara snapped back. "I was caught off-guard just as much as you were!"

"Or maybe you just acted like it in order to throw me off," Amity put her hands on her hips. "Your little bodyguard isn't here anymore, Skara: drop the pretense and be honest for once."

"Okay, I think this is getting a little too intense for us," Luz remarked, smiling nervously as she got between the pair. "How about we throw this topic under the bridge and go home?"

"Oh, I'm willing to do that," Amity narrowed her eyes. "So soon as Skara apologizes for what happened!"

"B-But..."

Skara fell silent. What would Boscha do in this situation? Well, besides grabbing Amity's face and incinerating it with the fires of the underworld.

She took a moment to think things out, and when she did, she realized something: Boscha saw the Strong and the Weak, and hated those who refused to grow stronger.

If she apologized, would she be doing just that? Saying sorry when she was just as stunned about it would only, at best, feed Amity's ego, which was supposed to be on a diet of humility, and supposedly take the weight off Boscha's shoulder, but would she really like that?

No. She'd hate that.

"I got nothing to tell you, Amity," Skara stated sternly and bluntly. "I was aware Boscha would do something, but I never thought she'd go as far as she did, and I'm not gonna shoulder her blame just to make you happy! Now if you excuse me, I need to go home now."

Skara walked past a stunned Amity, who shivered as the bard walked away. Her shock was quickly replaced with anger, however, and she ran to Skara and reached for her arm.

"H-Hey! Where are you going!? We're not done here!"

Amity reached for Skara's arm, and pulled...

*CRUNCH!*


Howls of pain were heard across the academy as Boscha and Chris looked around, all while standing right next to a generator.

"Was that one of your students?!" Boscha asked.

"No, I haven't heard anything like that before!" Chris answered, before getting an idea. "Maybe... that was Phosphophyllite?"

Hearing that, Boscha pulled a lever down, and as the machine shut down, she summoned a fireball to determine if the stunting had been stopped.

Which was confirmed when she managed to make a bigger fireball than before.

"Alright, stunting's dealt with! Let's follow the screams!"


Ear-piercing screeches were shouted from the box that a pair of young adults with masks held, holding several green-ish shards inside, some having been assembled to resemble a mouth.

And once it stopped, it spoke. "Kill me... kill me... kill-"

The guy slammed his fist on the mouth shattering it instantly while the masked woman looked at him, and a group of kids turned to look at him.

"What?! They literally asked to be killed! And besides, we're ignoring the important fact that this Denizen is somehow still alive!"

"Yeah, Simon, I'm stunned about that too," Grace, the woman, said as she looked at the shivering shards. "But how are they still alive? Most Denizens would be long gone if they were split in half, how's this one still conscious despite being separated into hundreds of pieces?"

"That doesn't matter right now," Simon shook his head. "It's clear what we have to do: we're aborting the mission, and wheeling this Denizen."

"What?! But we came here for the magical stones!" Grace responded as the kids gasped. "If we manage to fix the shards, we could power up the Apex!"

"Yes, at the expense of a Denizen that's stuck in unimaginable pain and only wants to die," Simon threw his arms up. "For crying out loud, Grace, I'm the one who hates Denizens with a passion, and even I find this horrible! Let's just call it quits and put them out of their misery-"

"AAAAAAAH!"

The adults, as well as the children surrounding them, turned to the door to see Lucy running towards them, crying while covering her left eye with her hands.

"We gotta run! We gotta leave!" she cried once she reached the adults. "Throw everything out and run as far as away as we can!"

"Lucy, what are you screaming about?" Grace asked as the girl with the eyepatch reached her. "And what happened to your eye-by the Conductor!"

Grace pulled Lucy's hand down, and where there once was an eye was nothing more than burn and scar tissue surrounding an empty eye socket. Lucy did keep her eyepatch, though, so at least the socket could be covered.

The scarred tissue, not so much.

"Who did this to you!?"

"I believe that'd be me."

The Apex turned around, and saw Boscha enter the room, a worried Chris floating next to her.

"And I assume you're the Apex."

Chapter Text

And here we are, chapter 3 of Boiling Point. If this was an Anime, this would be the point where the "three episode rule" would take effect: basically, you see the first three episode of an Anime, and then decide whether you'll drop it, or keep reading.

And oh boy, with what Boscha's planning to do, isn't that a fitting statement.

Also, yeah, I've heard about the Infinity Train season 4 being the last and I've seen the trailer. And I got a few things to say.

See, I've always found myself in this weird spot when it comes to popular shows: initially, I don't pay attention to them, but when I do, it's either when they're about to end, or after they've ended. And when that happens, there's usually not much fanfic I can write about them that'd get decent attention.

I've seen this happen with popular shows (Phineas and Ferb, Gravity Falls), and shows that aren't well known, for better or for worse (Fish Hooks, The 7D).

Coupled with many other shows coming to an end recently: Rapunzel's Tangled Adventures, Big Hero 6: The Series, and even Ducktales is coming to a close, it's very easy to get upset and sad about it and what not.

But then, I remember a powerful saying. A truly immortal saying. A saying that will stay with us forever, and will never, ever, overstay its welcome.

"Don't be sad because it's over. Be happy because it happened."

So, let's be happy that Infinity Train became a show.

Let's be happy that it got more than one season.

Let's be happy that we got to meet and grow with so many characters, even if some were less focused than others.

But most importantly, let's be happy that we were there until the very end. Because we were there from the very beginning, when the show was just a unique, if very quirky pilot that was unlike anything that we had seen before, or after.

And truthfully, even if the show ends, the stories we can tell about it won't. Sure, individual stories will end, but the plots and ideas? They're practically endless.

From a blue-haired girl with mommy issues, to a red-haired girl from a world of fantastic creatures that didn't need those creatures to blossom, to even a three-eyed pyromaniac of a witch, the stories we can tell taking place on the Train are... well, infinite.

But I've blabbered long enough. It's time for the main event!

P.S.: Apparently, Phosphyllite's name is actually Phosphophyllite. I'll rewrite all the times I got their name wrong, but they'll be called Phos for the majority of this story, so don't worry.

~Normal Inner Boscha~

~Apex Inner Boscha~


"That was too cruel, Amity, even for you."

Amity Blight wasn't in the mood to be called out for what was an honest mistake. She didn't mean to break Skara's arm, if Boscha's little pet had just stopped and apologized like she should've, she would be fine!

But no, clearly, she was in the wrong for daring to call her out.

"There are more important things to focus on," Amity stated before turning to Luz. "Isn't that right, Luz?"

The human girl took a deep breath. "Amity, you need to apologize."

Amity's eyes widened. "You must be kidding me; I just told you I'd go out with you, and already you betray me!?"

"Amity, you broke Skara's arm. Accident or not, that's a big deal," Luz folded her arms. "I mean, if you broke my arm, wouldn't you apologize?"

"I'd never do something so horrible to you!"

"Would you, or would you not?"

Amity paused for a moment, then took a deep breath.

"I would."

"And if you broke Willow's arm, would you apologize?"

"Obviously!"

"If you can do it for me and for Willow, why can't you do it for Skara?" Luz frowned. "Amity, please, apologize to Skara before things get worse."

Hearing that, Amity gritted her teeth and clenched her fists, growling like some kind of cat before she snapped:

"Fine! But how do I do that?"

"You can't be serious," Willow sighed.

"Don't worry, Willow," Luz remarked before gaining a smile. "I think I know how to help Amity with this..."


"So, you're the Apex?" Boscha smirked. "A bunch of little brats and two adults? Is that seriously it?"

Boscha laughed out loud as the children shivered, Simon glaring at the three-eyed witch while Grace hugged Lucy.

"Lucy, is that Null the one who burned your eye?"

"Null?" Boscha repeated with confusion.

"Null is what the Apex calls the Denizens of the Infinity Train," Chris explained. "They call them as such to emphasize their non-human nature and make themselves feel superior."

"Wow, so not only are they pirates, but they're racist pirates?" Boscha snickered, shaking her head before facing the Apex. "Sorry to break it to you, kids, but I'm no Null."

Boscha revealed her palm, which showed a glowing "16" that glitched until it transformed into a whopping "760."

"I'm a Passenger. Just like you."

The Apex gasped, Grace and Simon taking off their masks to take another look at the number.

"That's... a Passenger number!" Simon exclaimed. "And it's high enough to be part of the Apex, to boot!"

~Oh no...~

~That's it, they're dead.~

~They didn't mean to-~

~THEY'RE DEAD!~

"Hahahaha, oh, you have no idea how insulting that sounds!" Boscha folded her arms. "I wouldn't join your petty little club even if my life depended on it! You're nothing but a joke!"

Grace narrowed her eyes. "What did you say?"

Boscha turned to the crystal ball. "Chris, go check on the students. See if they're okay."

"But what about you?"

Boscha looked back at the Apex. "I'm gonna fight them."

"By yourself?!" Chris exclaimed in disbelief. "Are you crazy?! They're a group, and you're alone! That's too unfair!"

"You're right, it's unfair... for them."

"Boscha-"

"Would you shut up and do as I told you already?"

The crystal ball looked conflicted for a moment, but at this point he knew better than to try anger the three-eyed time bomb. So, he nodded, and flew off to elsewhere.

~Are we really gonna do this?~

~Kill the world before it kills you.~

~We don't need to go that far-~

~Kill the Apex before they kill you!~

"You heard me right! Your Apex is nothing more than a bad joke!" Boscha clenched her fist and raised it with a cocky smile. "An Apex protects the Strong and Weak alike, and guides them to better themselves! And yet, what do you do? You play the pirate game, ransacking cars for resources, a short term solution to the long term problem that is your very existence!"

"That's it, you've gone too far!" Simon yelled. "First you hurt one of our members, and now you call us a joke!? Just who do you think you are!?"

Boscha snapped her fingers, summoning a fireball. "I'm glad you asked."

Boscha shot the fireball into the air, and with a clench of her fist, it exploded, surrounding everybody on a ring of fire as the three-eyed witch introduced herself:

"I'm Boscha Urodela! Heir of the Boiling Underworld, and wielder of the flames of the Boiling Salamander! A living Apex of the highest quality, who stands above all!"

Boscha opened her palms, summoning a pair of fireballs as she added, with a sadistic smirk:

"Those who make a mockery of the title of "Apex" deserve to bathe in the fires of the hell!"



Skara had a feeling she now knew how it felt to be Boscha 24/7. She was already in a bad mood from Amity having the bright idea to assume that since she was Boscha's friend, that she should at least apologize on her behalf, but what did the nurse say as she helped her set her arm straight?

"You know, sweetie, it's not a good idea to pick a fight with a member of the Blight family. You're lucky she decided to only break your arm. Maybe next time you get into an argument, you could swallow your pride and apologize, don't you think?"

She was the one who got the idea that she needed to apologize! And besides, she wouldn't even accept: Amity wanted Boscha to apologize for the Mandragora incident, the only reason she told her to say sorry was because it was the next best thing!

Well, whatever, this horrible day was about to be over, and Skara would rather not stay in the building any longer. So, she power walked to the entrance, hoping she could leave Hexside before-

"Hey, Skara!"

Titandammit!

Skara turned around, and sure enough, Luz, Willow, and Amity approached her, the latter looking elsewhere with her arms folded.

"Hi, Skara," Luz said, sporting a nervous smile. "How's your arm? Is it better?"

"Yeah, no thanks to your friend," Skara growled, glaring at Amity before turning back to the human. "What do you want this time?"

"Oh, well, Amity would like to apologize for what happened."

Skara's eye twitched. "Apologize?"

"That's your cue, Amity," Willow whispered to the Blight. "Like we practiced."

The girl walked forward, meeting Skara's sharp glare as she mentally prepared herself.

"Well, let's not stall. I'm... not very good at this stuff."

Oh trust me, I can imagine.

"But Luz brought up a good point. It's not a good idea to hold onto these petty little things," Amity extended her hand forward. "So, how about we patch things up and shove this under the bridge?"

Skara glanced at Amity's offer, then at her neutral expression, and finally Luz and Willow, who were prompting the two to make up.

Seeing that, Skara looked back at Amity, narrowed her eyes...

And turned around and walked away.

The gasps of shock from the surrounding students echoed across the hallways, Amity's hand shivering as she slowly clenched it into a fist, and her expression narrowed...

"H-Hey, Amity, it's okay," Willow spoke, clasping her hands and taking a few steps forward. "There was a pretty big chance she would reject it, so-"

Suddenly, Amity ran.

"Amity!"

The girls ran to confront Skara, who was already halfway through the school's pavement when Amity yelled:

"WHYYYYYYYY!?"

This got Skara to stop, and face Amity with a stern expression.

"Why would you reject my apology like that?! I'm trying to be civil here! I'm trying to apologize for what I did, and you just walk away! Who do you think you are!?"

Narrowing her eyes, Skara fully turned around and walked back to Amity, who kept a strict pose as the bard got closer and closer. And once they were face to face, she spoke:

"So, you want to know why I don't accept your apology?"

"Yes!" Amity growled. "Why would you just turn around and walk away!?"

Skara took a deep breath, but even after doing that, there was a clear hint that the bard was having a hard time keeping it together.

"Let me bring you up to speed over what you've done to me today. First, when you and Willow butt into my Luz's conversation, you talk to me with a clear tone of condescendence. Then, when you recover from you-know-what, you have the brilliant idea of holding me responsible for what Boscha did, and when I refuse to budge and make you happy, you break my damn arm!"

"That doesn't count!" Amity looked elsewhere. "That was clearly an accident-"

"I don't care if you wanted to do it or not!" Skara gritted her teeth. "The fact you'd go and pull such a Boscha move over something so petty's just-"

Skara paused and took a deep breath, while Amity flinched, presumably from the "Boscha move" comment.

"And besides, Luz said it herself: she and Willow had to help you get ready to try apologize," Skara said, glancing at the duo briefly. "You really think I'm gonna accept an apology that you had to be coerced to do!?"

"I wasn't forced to do anything! They just brought up a good point about it!"

"Then be honest with me, Amity: if Luz and Willow weren't here to get it on your head that you made a mistake... would you apologize to me eventually, or would you just walk away, acting like you did nothing wrong?"

Amity's eyes widened, but as soon as she opened her mouth to say something, she closed it and pouted.

"That's what I thought. Now, if you have any semblance of pride left, you'll keep your damn mouth shut, stop getting in my away, and we'll both go home, like nothing happened! Understood?"

Skara didn't even stay behind to hear Amity's answer, she just turned and began stomping away, leaving just as Amity stomped back to the duo and looked at Willow.

"This was a horrible idea! I can't believe you convinced me to do it!"

"Why are you yelling at me?!" Willow flinched. "Luz is the one who convinced you to apologize!"

As if on cue, Luz ran after Skara, leaving the duo alone. Luz followed Skara for a while as she headed into the forest, down a particular path that lead to a familiar spot.

"This is the same spot Amity and I found you," Luz remarked as Skara stopped. "After Boscha burnt your shoulder and ran away-"

Then, something happened that caught Luz completely off-guard.

Skara began crying.

"W-Whoa! Skara, what's wrong?!"

"I just don't know why everybody's being so mean to me today!" Skara cried, putting a hand on her shoulder as she ranted, "First Boscha burns my shoulder, then she runs away, Amity pins the blame on me for what happened with the Mandragora, accusing me of knowing what would happen, and then somehow I'm the bad guy when the best she gives me is a half-hearted apology! And why!? Because I'm Boscha's friend!?"

Luz clutched her chest, unsure of what to respond as Skara paused for a moment before she lowered her head and cried some more. After some moments of silent whimpering, Luz sat next to Skara and sighed:

"I'm sorry... I didn't want things to blow up the way they did."

"It's okay, Luz, I know you didn't mean it," Skara wiped some tears off her cheeks. "It's just that Amity's so  unbelievable at times!"

"Yeah, I got that very clear," Luz sighed. "But uh... well, this might be a bit personal, but you and Amity were never really... friends, were you?"

Skara took a deep breath.

"My father reached an agreement with Amity and Boscha's parents to try make an alliance, to strengthen political power or something, I never paid attention. Boscha and I, we tried to get along, and though it took a while, we can actually consider ourselves friends now. But Amity... she never tried."

"She didn't?"

"For as long as I can remember, Amity never felt... comfortable, around us." Skara raised her head. "Whenever we tried to get her to join us, she'd just turn us down. Boscha would get angry, but I'd convince her to let it go. And then when you arrived, she began solely focusing on you."

Luz giggled nervously and looked away. "Sorry about that."

"Don't be, you've given everybody a breath of fresh air we desperately needed," Skara rested her cheek on her palm. "Seriously, besides becoming the first human student at Hexside, you've beaten the Basilisk with the Detention track students, impersonated an abomination, made a house sprout legs and walk, you've done and gotten away with so many things in one semester than most witches would get away with in their entire lifetimes!"

"It's not all good, really," Luz folded her arms and looked at the sky. "I also swapped bodies with King and Eda, and that caused me a lot of trouble, especially when he unleashed that massive pile of tendrils-"

"Wait a minute, that wasn't you that moment?" Skara hummed. "No wonder you looked cuter than usual."

"King's cuteness does trascend his tiny baby body."

The girls shared a hearty laugh that lasted a couple seconds until Skara went silent, and frowned.

"What's wrong?"

"I wish Boscha was here. At least she'd be able to talk back to Amity and knock some sense into her. I can already see it: she'd probably say  something that'd get her attention, like-"


"I WILL BURN YOUR VERY SOUL!"

Those words were the only warning the children of the Apex got before Boscha lunged at them, punching the ground hard enough to cause a fiery explosion that sent them sliding back a few feet.

They quickly attacked soon after, or at least, a boy named Alex did: he aimed what looked like a rocket launcher-wand hybrid over his shoulder, and yelled:

"Eat this, sucker!"

The wand shot several energy blasts, but as soon as the first dispersed the smoke cloud, Boscha ran towards him, dodging each and every blast until she was close enough to throw a punch... just as the wand launcher got ready to shoot again.

The end result was an explosion that sent Boscha sliding back, her hand clearly burnt for a moment before it healed the damage.

As for Alex, well, not only was the right side of his face scorched, but his shoulder was viciously burned to the point that certain spots revealed bone and viscera, blood spilling from the holes as Boscha grabbed his injured arm and threw him over at the wall.

~Oh my Titan!~

~That'll teach him!~

It was a good thing Grace and Simon had covered Lucy's eyes and ears, because this was starting to get hard to watch, despite having just started.

"How dare you-!" Simon growled as he stood up.

"Another step, and I turn all these children into corpses!" Boscha yelled with a sadistic smile.

~It's a bluff, I swear!~

~It's not a bluff, don't test us!~

Simon stopped right on his tracks. He wanted to do something, he really did, but it was really hard to come up with something while everything was happening, and the fire surrounding the building didn't help matters...

"How dare you do that to Alex!?"

Another Apex child, Todd, ran to Boscha screaming bloody murder, wearing a pair of gauntlets with star symbols on their side. However, he only managed to throw one punch that Boscha easily caught.

"How could I do it? Simple: because each and every single one of you deserve everything that's coming to you!"

Todd threw another punch, and Boscha easily dodged it.

"Including this!"

Coating her fist with fire, Boscha threw a punch at Todd's elbow, not only hitting it hard enough to break it, but snap his arm off, the resulting wound being quickly cauterized by the fire as the boy screamed in pain and his dismembered arm was set on fire.

~My goodness!~

Then, Boscha grabbed the burning arm, pinned Todd to the ground with her foot, and began bitch slapping him with it.

"Quit hitting yourself! Quit hitting yourself! Quit hitting yourself!"

~Stop, please! He's already down!~

~Don't stop! Not until he stops moving!~

Boscha cackled like an utter maniac as she began slapping harder and faster, until eventually, a titanic shout sent her flying, extinguishing the flames surrounding the place in the process.

The shouting came from another Apex kid, a girl named Lindsay, who used some futuristic thing on her neck to maximize her yelling.

Of course, even this only slowed down Boscha for a moment, since she slammed her hands deep into the ground, and shot enough fire to summon pillars of it all over the place, startling Lindsay long long to dash to her and grab her by the throat.

"Not so tough when you can't throw a temper tantrum, huh!?"

~Look who's talking...~

Lindsay hit Boscha's arm to free herself, but to no avail, as the three-eyed psycho pinned her to the ground, tightening her grip on her neck as she began heating it up.

"Now listen, you worthless little shit, I want you to beg for mercy! Beg for your life! Feel the same fear and despair that all the Denizens you killed felt in their last moments! And only then..."

Boscha leaned closer, a sadistic glare on her face.

"This might not be your own last moments of life!"

"HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!" Lindsay cried, shedding tears as she had more and more difficulty breathing. "MOMMY! DADDY! SIMON! GRACE! SOMEBODY SAVE ME!"

"That's more like it!"

~Please, somebody stop me!~

~Nobody can stop us now! Nobody! AHAHAHAHAHA!~

Boscha lifted Lindsay and threw her straight to the pile of scarred children, and as she approached them, Simon paced back and forth, ruffling his hair.

"Come on, Grace, help me think of something here!" he exclaimed in a panic. "What can we do to stop this?! Sneak attack? Bargaining?! What do we do?!"

"I might have an idea."

Chris floated down to the group afterwards, getting a disapproving glare from Simon as he spoke:

"I know you don't like Denizens, but you need to listen to me! You gotta hand over the box! It's the only way to stop her rampage!"

Simon's eyes widened. "The box with the shards?"

"That same one. As a crystal ball, I can see into the past and future, and of all the futures I've seen, the only one where Boscha stops her carnage is when she's given the box. And you really should give it to her before there are no children left to save!"

Simon gritted his teeth. He really didn't want to trust a Denizen, he simply wasn't ready to put his trust in one of them again, he'd probably never be ready.

But Boscha was completely unlike anything else the Apex had faced before, and as soon as she set the damn place on fire, it became clear that they either gave her what she wanted, or she'd mutilate until they couldn't really stop her from taking it by force.

Desperate situations required desperate measures.

"Grace, hand her the-" And then, he saw a certain absence. "Grace, where's Lucy?!"

Grace looked down to see the girl nowhere to be seen, and it didn't take long before they found her next to a statue. She ripped off a heart within it, and it began ticking as she ran straight towards Boscha, screaming as loud as she could to get her attention as she threw the heart.

~What was that!?~

Boscha stopped and turned around, her eyes turning red and her hair golden just in time for the heart to hit her and explode, allowing Lucy to run to her fellow Apex children.

"Guys, are you okay?!"

"Do we look okay to you!?" Alex groaned. "She... that thing maimed us!"

"I know, but don't worry, Simon and Grace will heal us up... s-somehow!" Lucy grabbed Alex's good hand. "A-And I took out that psycho too! She won't hurt us again!"

"You did?!" Todd asked in disbelief. "I-Is she gone?"

"Did she die?!" Lindsay asked, slight spite in her tone. "Please tell me she died!"

"Sadly yes..."

A chill going down their spines, the Apex children turned around, and witnessed the smoke cloud dispersing to reveal Boscha standing in place, barely bruised as she extended her arms and proclaimed:

"But I lived!"

~For better-~

~Or for worse.~

While her fellow children trembled in fear, Lucy stood her ground, clenching her fists as tears formed on the corner of her eyes.

"I'll give credit where credit's due, kid, you got guts," Boscha said as she dusted herself. "Too bad you're giving me ample reason to rip them off."

"Say whatever you want," Lucy spread her arms. "I'm not going to let you hurt my friends anymore!"

Boscha smiled bemused as she raised and coated her fist with fire.

"Alright then, guess I just gotta kill you, and then finish the job with your friends!"

Boscha ran towards the kids, Lucy's brave front slowly falling apart as she got closer and closer, until eventually, she threw her fire fist...

But instead of hitting Lucy, she hit Chris, who took the hit with a determined expression. And not only was he completely unfazed at the attack, but Boscha actually got hurt.

"Gah, my hand! What the hell are you made out of, and how can I destroy it!?"

~But most importantly, how can I repay you?!~

"The Apex leaders are willing to bargain!"

Boscha's eyes widened, especially when Simon and Grace appeared behind her with the box in hand.

"Here's the box with the shards," Grace said as she handed Boscha the box. "It's all yours, just please, stop torturing the kids!"

Boscha opened the box, and upon seeing the shivering shards, she flinched, only to hide her discomfort with a haughty smile.

"Hmph, took you long enough. Fine, take the kids and get outta here."

Simon and Grace walked past Boscha towards the grateful children, and everything seemed to be fine...

~There, we got what we wanted! Let's get out of here already!~

~Not yet...~

"But one more thing before you go."

Chris winced at Boscha's words, trying to gesture the duo to not listen to her, to no avail.

"What is it?"

~What are you doing?! They already gave us the box!~

~They did, alright...~

"Those masks you got are pretty cool," Boscha faced the duo, one of her arms behind her back. "Do they serve any purpose? Can they do anything?"

Grace was the one to answer, "Well, not really, we just have them to look cool."

Boscha smirked. "Well, how about I give them a real purpose?"

~Now they have to give us their heads!~

Boscha swung her glowing hand, sending a yellow shockwave straight at Simon and Grace's faces, sending them flying into the children.

Gasping at the end result, Lucy quickly covered the leaders with their masks, and once that was done, she bared her fangs against Boscha, flashing the most furious glare she could muster.

"Why did you do that!? They already gave you wanted!"

"Yes, they gave me the box, which is something I wanted," Boscha narrowed her eyes. "But I also want this "Apex" to pay for everything it has done. And the things I did to you aren't enough."

"Aren't enough?! You blew up Alex's shoulder! Split Todd's arm in half! Strangled Lindsay, and now you burn Simon and Grace's faces!" Lucy snapped. "And you think that's not enough!?"

"Precisely." Boscha snapped her fingers, summoning a small fireball on her thumb as she approached the group. "There's still much, much left for you to feel... to suffer..."

Suddenly, a bunch of water fell on top of Boscha, washing away her fireball and leaving her soaking wet. A few seconds passed as everybody processed what just happened before Boscha looked up.

A bucket was suspended over her head, which was dropped by a pink-haired girl with pink eyes, who blew a raspberry before running away.

The bucket hit Boscha in the head, and the witch grabbed it and threw it away, the Apex kids giggling as Boscha tried to summon her fireballs again, to no avail.

"Stop laughing!" Boscha demanded. "Just because I'm too wet to cast fire doesn't mean I can't kill you in other ways-!"

Then, a pink arrow nearly hit Boscha, stopping her in her place as magical girls appeared out of nowhere: a pink-haired one with a raven-haired one that aimed at Boscha with a bow and guns, another group lead by a girl with black hair and pupils shaped like a broken heart, a nigh-naked girl with a red highlight on her hair and a pair of giant, crimson scissors, among others, all aiming their weapons at Boscha.

"Chris," the witch faced the crystal ball. "What's the meaning of this?"

"It's one thing to stop the Apex. It's another thing to torture and mutilate them," the crystal ball stated. "You already did enough, and got the box you wanted. Now don't test my patience and leave once the portal appears."

Boscha glared at the crystal ball, but rather than risk anything, she sighed and begrudgingly nodded.

Normally, she wouldn't bother listening to the warnings of a sentient crystal ball and would just finish the job. But even she knew that doing that right now would be suicide.

She was surrounded by girls with magical power that was probably stronger than hers, and even if she believed in there being Strong and Weak people, she also knew about having strength in numbers.

Being Strong didn't really mean anything if you were completely surrounded, even if you were surrounded by the Weak.

So, she began to walk away, waiting for the portal to open...

And then she faced the Apex one more time.

"The only reason I'm not killing you right now, besides the obvious, is because you're not worth it. I already showed you what I can do with only a little power of the Salamander by my side, and I practically left you in shambles! If I wanted, I could've burned you to a crisp, and make sure your existence as people, as the False Apex, was nothing more than a memory..."

Boscha smirked with clear sadism. "But where's the fun in that?"

The Apex shivered, especially as Boscha continued:

"The truth is, False Apex, that your existence is going to be more than miserable for you going forward. I heard what you did: ransack cars and kill any Denizens that got in your way. But after being left in such a pathetic state, who's going to forget everything you did and give you a helping hand? The truth is, nobody will. Nobody will forget what you did before this point. Nobody will forget how you once terrorized the Infinity Train because you believed you owned it. You'll be forever remembered as the Passengers who refused to learn how things actually worked."

Boscha cackled, sending shivers down everyone's spine.

"And the best part of it is, you wouldn't even be alive right now if it wasn't for a Denizen! If Chris hadn't seen past your horrible crimes, do you know what I would've done? I would've killed you on the spot, but I wouldn't have stopped there! I'd have ripped your heads straight off your shoulders, put them at the very top of a set of pikes, and gathered just some of the many, many Denizens you've hurt in the wake of your terror, and began a parade of your lifeless remains across the Train! A parade that would be met with the utmost cheer and joy, all while the Denizens would cry out in joy, to be heard all across the Train..."

Boscha raised her arms and exclaimed at the top of her lungs:

"THE APEX! IS! DEAD!"

Those words echoed across the building as the Apex, the students, and Chris looked at Boscha like she was some kind of madwoman, a notion not helped by the demented laughter she had soon after...

And then, she calmed down in the blink of an eye.

"But don't think that just because I'm leaving you alone right now, that you're safe from my wrath."

Simon and Grace flinched.

"This is your chance, your one and only chance, to become better. To become worthy of the title of Apex. Protect the Strong and Weak... the Passengers and the Denizens... and help them grow to become stronger... only when you do that, will you be able to call yourselves an "Apex" without giving me the desire to murder you."

Boscha narrowed her eyes with a cocky grin.

"And if we meet again, and you've failed to change enough... well, then you'll leave me no choice but to get rid of you. With extreme prejudice."

A portal opened behind Boscha, which she approached as she finished:

"Now, if you excuse me, I have better things to do than waste my time talking to a bunch of Frauds like yourselves. So, until we meet again, False Apex. Pray that it doesn't come sooner rather than later-"

Along the way, Boscha tripped on her wet feet, causing her to squeak as she hit the floor, clutching the box as tightly as she could. She then stood up, and proclaimed:

"I may have slipped. But that doesn't diminish the impact of my exit!"

Boscha walked through the portal, and it closed just as the Apex collapsed, the leaders barely staying conscious long enough to see the students running up to them, saying:

"Quick! Take them to the infirmary!"


Luz couldn't help but feel a little about how things had gone today. The start was just fine, and getting to learn of Amity's feelings and becoming a couple with her were also positives...

But on the flip side, there was everything about the Skara situation. From Amity accidentally breaking her arm, to being effectively forced to take the blame for Boscha, Luz couldn't help but feel sorry for the girl. And when she saw her at the woods crying...

"I'm home."

Well, hopefully, Eda and King could cheer her up.

"Hey there, Luz!" Eda, the Owl Lady remarked, waving her hand while at the kitchen. "I'm just about done cooking dinner, go sit with King in the meantime!"

"Got it!"

Luz sat down at the couch, and King, who was reading a book, put it down and noticed her.

"Hi, Luz, when did you get here?"

"Just now. When did you took up reading?"

"Reading? Pfft! I'm not reading! I'm looking at the funny pictures," King lifted the book and flipped the page, laughing out loud a few seconds later. "Ahahahaha! That kid got decapitated! What a classic!"

Luz chuckled slightly, forcing a small smile that eventually morphed into a frown as the laughter ended.

"Hey, Luz, is something wrong?" King asked. "You spent a lot more time at Hexside than usual."

"I..."

Can I tell them about what happened with Boscha? I mean, I trust King and Eda, but can they really help me with this sort of thing? I mean, Skara alone was something I've never seen before, I'm still shaken about that. Besides, Eda and King have their own stuff to deal with. Well, Eda has stuff, King has a lack of impulse control.

"A thinking statue!"

Luz snapped back to reality, seeing King pointing at her while jumping up and down.

"A half-vehicle! A fanfic writer! A half-vehicle riding a fanfic writer!"

"What are you doing?"

"Isn't it obvious? We're playing charades!" King shrugged. "At least, I assume we're playing charades, since you keep making all those weird movements."

Luz took a deep breath, and forced a smile. "You know what, King? I think I could use a game of charades right now."

"Woohoo! My desires are fulfilled once more!" King clasped his hands. "Don't cry when I beat you, Luz!"

Luz chuckled. "Same to you."

I'll leave that in the backburner for now. In the meantime, time to show King a charades master!


Boscha walked around the car she found herself at: it was a long, laboratory-like place with several platforms, some having broken objects placed on them.

"Where am I?"

"This is what's known as the Reconstruction Car."

Boscha turned around, and glared at the familiar spherical being that was Chris.

"In this Car, any broken object, and even Denizens, can be easily repaired with a push of a button. The students come here whenever their magical weapons break-"

"What the hell are you doing here?" Boscha raised an eyebrow. "Don't you have a job back at the previous Car?"

"I've seen some of the horrors you're willing to unleash just to prove a point; and somebody like that needs someone to keep them in check," Chris explained, furrowing his brow. "And since we've already proven that I'm one of the few things that can withstand one of your attacks-"

~Which I'm grateful for.~

"Hmph, that punch was just a fluke! Believe me, if you make me angry, I'll eventually find a way to crack you open like an egg!"

~Though hopefully, I'll never use it.~

"And until then, I'll keep an eye on you, and make sure you don't start pulling the same stunts as the Apex!"

Boscha flinched at the statement, but she wasn't really mad at the crystal ball. If anything, talking back to her like this was something she approved, as it showed Chris had the guts the Apex completely lacked.

"Good answer," Boscha walked to one of the platforms. "Now tell me, how do I get this thing to work?"

"Put the shards on the platform then press the button."

Boscha obliged: she opened the box, shoved the shards down the platform, then pushed the only button on it. A few seconds passed and nothing seemed to happen...

And then, the shards shook, and began spinning as they floated up, morphing and combining until they resembled a humanoid figure.

Within the span of ten seconds, the shards had been reformed into Phosphophyllite, whose first reaction upon hitting the ground was-

"AAAAAAAAAAH!"

... Not exactly nice.

"Where am I?! What happened?! Why am I alive?! How am I alive?!"

"Geez, dude, calm down," Boscha said, pocketing her hands. "Everything's alright now, okay? I took you out of that academy and got you all fixed up."

"But why?" Phosphophyllite looked at their hands. "Why do I deserve to get repaired after I failed Lapis the way I did?" and then they remembered something. "Lapis! What happened to them?!"

"They died," Boscha stated with a grin. "Just like they deserved."

"I couldn't even keep Lapis safe?" Phos lowered their head. "I really AM a failure."

"You're not going to get anywhere with them if you keep acting like this, Boscha," Chris stated sternly. "Right now, they don't need to be told the harsh truth, they need to be comforted; you can do that, right?"

"Of course I can!"

"Then what are you waiting for?"

Boscha gritted her teeth. As much as she wanted to punch Chris in his crystal face, she already knew it wouldn't work. And besides, he was right: given how Phosphophyllite was acting right now, it wouldn't be surprising if a few words made the difference in convincing them not to shatter themselves the first chance they got.

And so, Boscha stepped forward and grabbed Phosphophyllite's head.

"Okay, look at me and listen: you're not a failure. You didn't fail Lapis in any way, shape, or form. If anything, Lapis failed you."

Phosphophyllite blinked. "They... they did?"

"Instead of seeing you as an equal and helping you grow into a strong and capable... whatever you are-"

"Denizen," Chris blurted.

"A strong and capable Denizen, they just saw you as a pawn, and once they used you for their benefit, they threw you at the side as if you were garbage."

Boscha tightened her grip on Phosphophyllite's face, making sure not to crack it.

"But just because people see you as a pawn doesn't mean that's all you are! It just means that they'd rather use you as a tool rather than see you for what you really are."

Boscha released Phosphophyllite's face, and took a couple steps back.

"Right now, maybe you're Weak. And maybe you're useless. But that can change. And I will make sure that changes."

Phosphophyllite frowned. "And... who are you, again?"

Boscha flashed a smile, and extended her hand. "Call me Boscha."

Phosphophyllite glanced at the hand, then Boscha's smile, and shook it. "Phosphophyllite."

"Okay, so now that I have a couple of coming with me, I think it's time to make some progress on this Infinity Train!" the three-eyed witch remarked, rubbing her hands together. "So, Chris, tell me: is there an Astral Car on this Train?"

"Well, it's called the Infinity Train for a reason, so there's a very good chance that such a Car exists," Chris frowned. "The problem's that we don't know how many Cars we'd need to travel through in order to reach it: we could spend days looking for it to no avail."

"Little progress is better than no progress," Boscha smiled. "I'll take it."

"If you don't mind me asking," Phosphophyllite blurted. "Why do you wanna see the Astral Car of all places?"

Boscha folded her arms behind her back, and raised her head. "There's a type of Illusion magic back in my world, which allows the soul to create an illusion of it self that can move freely around, and transmit the thoughts of its user and translate them into words. This is called an astral projection, and if I'm gonna learn that technique anywhere, it's gotta be the Astral Car."

~Also, it's kinda illegal, but I guess that doesn't matter now, does it?~

"But why do you need it?" Chris and Phosphophyllite asked in unison.

Boscha took a deep breath, her smile turning into a frown.

"There's someone back in my world that's probably worried about me. I... want to let her know I'm fine... and honestly, I just wanna see if she's okay, too..."


Back at the Boiling Isles, Skara was fast asleep, with notable tear trails going down her cheeks. She snored peacefully for a moment... and tightly grabbed her pillow, whispering a familiar name:

"Bos... cha..."

Chapter Text

Okay, so, this might be a dumb thing to point out, but after what happened last chapter, I don't think we should focus on Boscha for a bit.

So, instead, we're gonna focus on the Boiling Isles, where Skara's exam takes place, and the Apex, just to see how badly Boscha's encounter with them has left them in shambles.

I'll try to be a bit more comedic with this chapter because, truth be told, while last chapter was fun to write, it was also quite brutal. Like, much more brutal than what I'm normally used to.

And before anybody asks, I'm hoping to have a Lumity endgame, of course, but also something for Skara too. Boscha's not really into romance, and she's kind of a psycho, so there's that.

Also also, great news: this story has a Tv Tropes page! One made by Green_Phantom_Queen herself! I dunno if I can add a link to it, but it's there!

Also, a couple things I've wanted to clarify:

* Amity's leg injury at the Grudgby game didn't happen. But though this could be seen as her being around for the season one finale, I doubt she'd change much: Lilith made quick work of Gus and Willow, she can work Amity just as quick.

* Boscha's eyes were glowing red during the entirety of her fight with the Apex, and in general, they glow red when she's angry.

* Amity hasn't spoken with Skara since the rejected apology bit. If she could only barely start mending her friendship with Willow, there's no way she's getting through Skara.

* Boscha's first number, 16, is the atomic number of Sulfur, while her second number, 760, is the number of total living Salamander species. Her family name, Urodela, is the name of the order that Salamanders belong to.

Anyway, I've blabbered long enough. Onto the chapter!

~Normal Inner Boscha~

~Apex Inner Boscha~


Once the sun rose over the Boiling Isles, Skara woke up feeling fully refreshed, yawning with a wide smile before she quickly put on her Hexside uniform and walked to her drawer.

She opened it, and grabbed something from within while flashing a joyous smile.

With that done, she grabbed the rest of her stuff and jolted out of her house, dashing past a news broadcast on the table's crystal ball:

"It's been over a week since the near-petrification of Eda Clawthorne, otherwise known as the Owl Lady. Information about the exact details is scarce, but-"

Blah blah blah, we get it, something big happened last week, get over it!

Skara had more important things to do at Hexside anyway: for today were the exams, and she'd have a chance to test a little something she's been working on.

Also, Boscha's week of suspension was over! That clearly meant she was gonna return, right?
... Right?

"Amelia! Cat!"

A pair of girls, one with green hair and fair skin wearing the Plant track uniform, the other a brunette with glasses, wavy hair, and the Healing track uniform, stopped and turned around, seeing Skara running up to them while waving her hand.

"Oh, hi... Skara..." Amelia, the Plant track student, greeted with a little smile, while her fellow student, Cat, glared at Skara. "Did something good happen to you this morning?"

"Yup! I remembered that today ends Boscha's suspension!" Skara clasped her hands and perked up. "After a whole week without hearing from her, she's finally coming back!"

"Hmph, of course you'd see that as a good thing," Cat rolled her eyes. "Well, it doesn't matter. Even if Boscha does return, Human is a much bigger star now than Boscha could ever hope to be."

"Cat, for the last time," Amelia groaned, rubbing her forehead as she added. "The human student has a name: Luz!"

"Right, now that you mention it, I heard a news broadcast about that stuff just now," Skara frowned sympathetically. "Do you think she's handling it well?"

"She's practically a celebrity," Cata pointed out. "How do you think she's holding up?"


"That was amazing!"

"I can't believe you did that!"

"How are you still alive?!"

Truth be told, Luz was expecting some kind of attention after the stunt she pulled last week.

It was one thing to head to Emperor Belos' place and challenge him to a fight, all to save a transforming Eda.

It was another thing entirely to not only survive the fight, but chip a piece of his mask off.

The invincible Emperor Belos. Had his mask chipped. By a human.

Yeah, things got pretty crazy, and if those words were any indication, things were not going to calm down for Luz for a while.

"Luz!"

The human girl snapped back to reality to find herself at the hallways of Hexside, Amity standing next to her with a checklist.

"I've been trying to get your attention for half an hour!" she chided. "We still need to decide where are we gonna have our first date!"

Right, she and Amity were supposed to be dating. Though given everything that had just happened, they didn't really do much dating at all.

"Sorry, Amity," Luz scratched her head. "I haven't been able to focus since the whole Belos thing. People keep pointing it out to me, and I'm honestly kinda worried he'll come out of nowhere and strike."

Amity lowered her eyelids and pocketed her checklist with a sympathetic smile.

"Got it, let's save the first date for when you're feeling better."

"Thank you."

"Now, have you studied for today's exams?"

"Yup! I spent all night memorizing the perfect potion recipes for the Potions exam!" Luz chirped.

Amity raised an eyebrow. "Did you study for the other exams?"

Luz blinked twice. "What other exams?"

Amity raised an eyebrow. "Luz, are you or are you not part of every single track at Hexside?"

"Yup!"

"That means you gotta do every exam we got today."

"Whaaat?!" Luz ruffled her hair. "Nobody told me about that!"

"Well what else did you expect?" Amity folded her arms. "Did you really think you could join every track and not have to deal with multiple exams?"

Luz groaned and pouted pitifully, striking the vulnerable heart of her girlfriend.

"Luckily for you, there's a certain girl who's got smarts, and is totally willing to help you study."

Luz perked up again. "Hey, you're right! I think I know who you're talking about!"

Amity flashed an amused smile. "Really?"

"Yeah! One of the smartest girls in Hexside!"

"Uh huh..."

"One with incredible potential!"

Amity blushed and put a hand on her cheek. "Go on..."

"And one of the few people in this crazy world known as Boiling Isles that I trust with my very being!"

Amity's blush intensified as she put both hands on her cheeks and giggled. "Keep going!"

"You think Willow's busy right now?"

"I'm talking about me!" Amity yelled, her giddyness replaced with anger. "And we're gonna start studying right here, right now: you only got so much time before classes start."

Luz groaned again, but Amity felt no sympathy this time. A certain student walking by probably would, though.

"Skara, save me! Amity's trying to force me to study against my will and-" Luz tilted her head. "What do you have behind your back?"

Skara flinched and turned around, keeping whatever she held as hidden as possible. "Oh, uh, nothing. It's just something I made for today's exam."

"I wanna see it!"

Luz tried to reach for Skara, but the bard jumped back.

"No can do, Luz," Skara waggled her index finger. "This is only for the exam."

"And you got other things to do," Amity chided, grabbing and pulling Luz by the ear. "Come on, we're wasting time here."

Amity dragged Luz away, and Skara waved goodbye, waiting until they were completely gone before she took out what she hid:

A thin wand-flute hybrid.

"You'll make your debut today."


Simon and Grace had better days.

Ever since the encounter with you-know-who, the Apex slowly fell apart: when their small group returned from, let's be honest here, a straight up massacre, the Apex lost members in the blink of an eye.

Where there once stood dozens of members, now there were only four: the very same kids who had been put through you-know-who's brutal assault, and survived.

Once their injuries had been healed at the Mana Academy Car, there was really only one place they could go where they would, hopefully, be safe from any Denizen, or Passenger, who would want to try finish the job.

But it wasn't a place Simon was happy to be at.

Especially when instead of a normal alarm clock, he was waken up by the sounds of mechanical purrs and meowing.

"Alright, everybody wake up!" Grace exclaimed, standing up and clapping her hands as the children soon followed. "We got a long day ahead of us, so let's get started!"

Lucy was pretty much the only one who woke up with a chipper smile: Lindsay put her pillow over her head, Alex groaned as he rubbed his eyes, and Todd just kept snoring without a care in the world.

"Eh, they'll get up soon enough," Grace turned to Simon and shook him. "Simon, get up!"

"I don't want to..."

Grace glanced at Lucy, and nodded with a cocky smile. The girl promptly patted her elbow, then ran to Simon and elbowed his back, not only causing the man to wake up, but to drop out of his bed.

"Alright, I'm up! I'm up!" he groaned as he stood up. "You guys go ahead and brush your teeth, I'll... try to get my back fixed..."

The children obliged and left, and as they did, Simon couldn't help but notice their changes.

Lucy was the most normal, simply having bandages wrapped around the left side of her face.

Lindsay had her whole neck bandaged, as the metal being heated up caused it to fuse with her skin.

Alex's shoulder was wrapped with bandages, alongside the right side of his face.

And though Todd's forearm was completely incinerated by Boscha, at least what remained of his arm was bandaged up, alongside his face.

Needless to say, this only served as a cruel reminder of that horrible day.


And when time came for breakfast, Simon was notably upset.

"What's wrong, Simon? Not feeling hungry?"

The man turned around, and saw the same Denizen that had accompanied him nearly a decade ago. The same Denizen that abandoned him to the mercy of a Ghom, causing him to loath and detest all Denizens.

And, ironically, the only Denizen who'd bother to give a helping hand to the ruins that were the Apex.

Samantha. Or, as she preferred, The Cat.

"I guess you could say that," Simon sighed as he ate some eggs. "One of the kids decided to wake me up by snapping my back in half due to someone's prodding."

Grace looked elsewhere, and whistled as she tried to eat her food.

"Well, don't think about that for now," Samantha sighed, briefly glaring at Grace before giving Simon a reassuring smile. "The Cat Carnival Car will open soon, and then when it's over, I'll help you look for a new place to stay."

"You mean you'll abandon us the first place we find, right, Null?"

The Cat turned to face Lindsay, who was eating her pancakes with a little smile.

"Lindsay, please, we're eating," Grace sighed. "If you got something to say-"

"Let her be, Grace," The Cat narrowed her eyes. "I'm actually curious as to what she meant."

"Oh, puh-lease, don't act like you don't know: Simon told us about what you did to him," Lindsay chided. "How you ran away like a coward and never came back for him!"

Then, she flashed a cat-like smile. "Or should I say, that you ran away like a scaredy cat?"

The Cat narrowed her eyes. "How dare you say that with the smile of my people."

Lindsey slammed her fist down the table while shouting "scaredy cat!" repeatedly, continuing until the rest of the kids joined her chanting.

"Scaredy cat! Scaredy cat! Scaredy cat!"

"Okay, I think that's enough," Simon said, getting between both groups. "Say, is one of you missing?"

"Lucy stayed behind to train," Todd answered.

"Snitch!" Lindsay snapped at the boy.

"Okay then, guess I'll excuse myself to go look for her," Grace stood up. "Unless you'd like to go, Simon?"

"And risk having her finish breaking my back? Yeah, no thanks."

"Alright then, if you say so."


Grace walked back upstairs, and went to the very last door on the hallway. When she opened it, Lucy was inside, hitting a punching bag while wearing a pair of Blue boxing gloves.

"Hey there, kiddo!" Grace chirped. "We were wondering when you were going to join us for breakfast."

"I'll be there in a minute, just let me finish here!"

Grace sighed and walked to Lucy's side just as she threw a big left hook.

"So, training for when we see... her, again?"

"Yup! I even drew a picture of the jerk for extra motivation!"

Grace looked at the bag, and held back a chuckle at the crude drawing of Boscha pasted in the middle.

"You've gotten better at drawing, I see."

"Yup, I've been practicing my drawing skills ever since...!"

Lucy's smile slowly faded, replaced by a lowered look of concern.

"Lucy, I have to insist, you need to go and eat your breakfast-"

"And I also need to be prepared for when we meet the maniac again, so that I don't stand around like a moron as she tortures my friends!"

Grace jumped back at the sudden shout, calming down as Lucy took a deep breath and removed her boxing gloves.

"Sorry..."

"... Lucy, we haven't seen her for a whole week now. Not only that, but we got a job and a roof over our heads. You should... try to take it easy or something-"

"How!? How am I supposed to take it easy!? How are any of us supposed to take it easy!?" Lucy snapped, glaring at Grace as she ranted, "There's a flaming psychopath roaming the Train, who said she'd do unspeakable things to us if we ever met again! And we can't even trust her word that she'll leave us alone if we get better after what she did to you and Simon!"

Grace was immensely grateful that The Cat just so happened to have enough money for plastic surgery. What became of Simon and Grace's faces after Boscha's swipe was... something she didn't like to think about.

"Lucy, I know you're scared, but grinding yourself to dust trying to learn how to fight isn't going to help," Grace raised her palm, revealing her number now only reached her wrist. "If we get these numbers down to zero, then we can leave the Train, and stay on an entirely different world from that maniac."

"Yes, I know, but until then, every time we go to a new car, there's a chance we'll run into her!" Lucy gasped, shedding tears while clutching her chest. "A-a-and if we do run into her, we'll meet a dead end! With emphasis on dead!"

Then, Grace hugged Lucy, the girl gasping and looking shocked for a moment before she returned the hug.

"I... I don't wanna die..."

"I know. And I promise you, Lucy, that psycho will have to go through me and Simon if she wants to lay a single finger on you."

"But I don't want you to die either..."

Grace tightened the hug. "We'll find a way to make this work. Let's just, go eat breakfast now, and worry about that later, okay?"

"...Okay..."


Back at Hexside, the Bard track students sat at the school's backyard, preparing themselves for their upcoming exam.

Skara was no exception, cleaning her wand-flute hybrid while sporting a confident smile, finishing just as a certain voice spoke:

"Hi Skara..."

"Hi Luz, how's it-OH MY TITAN!"

Luz, besides sporting a red-tinted version of her usual multicolor outfit, also had notable eye bags and wrinkles.

"Nice... to... see... you... t-"

Luz tripped and nearly hit the ground, only to land on Skara's lap instead.

"Luz, are you okay?!"

"Skara, your thighs are heavenly." Luz moaned, hugging Skara's legs. "Can I sleep on them for a while?"

"First of all, only Boscha can do that," Skara grabbed and put Luz on the seat next to her. "Second of all, what happened to you?!"

"Amity grinded me to the ground, teaching me everything I needed to know for today's exams," Luz explained, tilting from side to side. "She'd be a pretty good teacher, I'll give her that. But if I wasn't exempt from the Healing track exam, she'd probably have killed me with the studying."

"Wait, you're exempt from the Healing track exam?" Skara raised an eyebrow. "Why?"

"Well..."


Luz, looking tired but not as quite as in present day, crawled to the Healing track classroom, standing up and moving like a zombie as she said:

"So... much... studying... need to... pet... cute thing..."

And luckily, Luz found the... critter, that was the class pet of the Healing track. She promptly grabbed them, put them on the table, and began rubbing their belly.

"Ah, that really helps," Luz sighed with a little smile. "Thanks a lot, little buddy-"

But once she looked back at the critter, they had stopped moving.

And Cat stood at the entrance, mouth open wide in shock.

"Um..." Luz smiled nervously. "They're just... sleeping?"

Cat gritted her teeth and ran off, yelling:

"TEACHER! HUMAN JUST KILLED LAZARUS!"


"Yeah, not one of my smartest decisions," Luz sighed. "They exempted me from taking the exam afterwards."

"Okay, even with that in mind, there's no way you're gonna last in this state," Skara separate her flute from her wand. "Give me a second, I'll sing you a melody that should heal you up."

Skara took a deep breath, then played a slow, soothing melody on her flute. As the melody played, the bags under Luz's eyes disappeared entirely, and her body straightened up, Luz herself feeling fully refreshed once the melody ended.

"There, that should do it."

"Whoa-hoho! I feel great!" Luz faced Skara. "What did you do?!"

"I just played a little melody to give you your strength back," Skara explained calmly as she put the flute and wand back together. "Unfortunately, it'll only last for a few hours, so you better make good use of it."

"Wait, it's only temporary?" Luz frowned. "Why didn't you use the permanent variant?"

"I don't know the melody for that one."

"Ah, I see," Luz stretched a bit. "Well anyway, thanks a lot for this, Skara. Now I'll actually have a chance at passing this exam!"

"And the next few that come after it."

"Sure, if possible."

"Alright, bards, stand up!"

Luz and Skara hastily obliged, the former standing up immediately while the latter took her time. And as the bard teacher spoke, it took one sentence to catch Luz's interest:

"Now remember, if you fail to provide the Bat Queen with enough food, she will just have to eat you instead!"

"Wait, so, if we fail," Luz's eyes widened. "We're gonna get eaten alive?!"

"Not really," Skara shrugged. "If the Bat Queen eats you, she'll teleport you to her stomach dimension, where, apparently, a smaller version of herself will teach you what you did wrong."

Luz grimaced. "Now I almost wish she'd eat me alive."

"Hey, look at the bright side," Skara smiled brightly. "If we pass, we might get the chance to get our own palismans!"

"Really?! But I didn't get any palismans for the other tests!" Luz pouted. "Where are my half-a-dozen palismans?!"

"Owlbert's good enough for you!"

Luz and Skara turned around, and saw Eda and Lilith hiding in the bushes, the former waving her hand high before the latter shoved her back into the bush.

"Huh, Eda and Lilith actually came to watch? This test must be very important, then, since I didn't see them before," Luz squinted her eyes. "But why are they hiding?"

"Go, Skara!"

Near Lilith and Eda's hiding bush, Warden Wrath and his lackies stood up, waving their fists while cheering for Skara as loudly as they could.

"Warden Wrath?!" Luz narrowed her eyes with visible disgust. "What's he doing here!?"

"He's... my father..."

Luz slowly turned to face Skara, who was looking away with an uneasy smile. A couple seconds passed before the full brunt of the reveal reached Luz, and once it did, Luz couldn't help but scream.

"I have so many questions right now!"

"And I'm afraid we have so little time to answer them," the bard teacher said, catching Luz's attention. "Have you brought an instrument for today's exam, Luz?"

Luz simply smiled and took out her instrument: a violin.

"I didn't take you for a violinist, Luz."

"Neither did I: It's a last minute thing Amity came up with. Something about playing a ballad for her when it's all done."

Skara promptly uncovered her wand-flute hybrid, and Luz's attention was instantly caught, going "ooooh" at the sight.

"Pretty cool, right? I made it myself."

"It looks so dang cool!" Luz chirped, her eyes brimming with amazement. "Could I borrow it someday?"

Skara giggled for a moment. "Of course not!"

Just then, a large shadow loomed over the bard students, and faster than you could shout "Incoming!", the Bat Queen flew down, spreading her wings and roaring at the bard teacher:

"FEED ME, SEYMOUR!"

"Just one minute, Your Highness," the teacher, apparently named Seymour, answered before turning to the students. "Alright, children, this is where you come in! Play the melodies I taught you so the Bat Queen may have a feast!"

The students readied their instruments, Skara smiling with a hint of cheekyness that suggested she had a trick up her sleeve.

The students played their melodies in quick succession, bringing fairies, elves, and mandragoras individually, the Bat Queen eating each of the creatures with a wide smile.

"And now, Luz Noceda."

The human nodded and took a couple steps forward: she grabbed the thing people used to play the violin, and began playing the first melody she could remember...

Not that it would've mattered, since the only melody anybody could hear was a gargled mess of noise that could break ears.

Looks like Amity's gonna need to give Luz some more lessons. Skara thought with a cocky smile.

Bizarrely, though, the Bat Queen seemed to enjoy it, since she began dancing to the tune up until the teacher put a stop to it.

"Alright, Luz, that'll be enough. For everybody's sake," Seymour sighed. "Now, while I'm sure you've driven away nearly every creature near here, you also did entertain the Bat Queen, so I guess I can give you a passing. You only just barely passed, though."

"Woohoo, mediocrity!" Luz chirped.

"And now, we come to our last student: Skara Brae."

All eyes fell on Skara, who stood up and took over Luz's spot, the human flashing a pair of thumbs up at her as she left. Skara looked down at her wand-flute hybrid, and took a deep breath before she began playing the fairy melody.

The slow, alluring melody brought over a group of fairies towards the students, most praying these weren't of the skin-eating variety.

However, somewhere along the fairies' trek, Skara added a pair of melodies to the fairy one, intertwining them as everybody took notice. Especially Luz.

Wait, why's Skara changing the melody all of a sudden?

As the melody kept playing, not only did the fairies keep flying towards the group, but some elves and mandragoras came as well.

Oh, now I get it! She's mixing the melodies together so she'll attract all three types instead of just one! Luz pouted. Why didn't I think of that?!

The creatures kept walking in unison, oblivious to the giant humanoid head licking her lips. And next thing they knew, they were swallowed by the beast, gulping them down as Skara's combined melody came to a slow, gentle end.

Everybody stood stunned at what had happened, and when Skara opened her eyes and looked around, not only was she greeted by their shocked expressions, but her teacher looked positively furious.

"Care to explain yourself, Skara?! What were you thinking, mixing the melodies without my permission!? It was scandalous! It was outrageous! It was-!"

"Delicious!"

Everybody turned around to see the Bat Queen licking her lips, sporting a satisfied smile as she eyed Skara, and promptly walked to her.

Before Skara could say anything, the giant head opened her mouth and rolled out her tongue, a small, bird-shaped wooden piece revealed at the very end of the tongue.

Skara grabbed the item, and looked at it with a skeptical eyebrow.

"Uh, what's this?"

The Queen rolled her tongue back, then dropped the bombshell:

"Palisman. For you."

Everybody's jaws dropped as the Bat Queen promptly flapped her wings and flew off, leaving everybody to process what had just happened.

Even Skara could only stare at her palisman in shock as she and Luz walked back inside the building.

"That was incredible, Skara!" the human said with a wide smile. "I mean it, you gotta tell me how you did it! And in exchange, I can present you to Eda! I bet she'd want to meet you after that display!"

Skara remained silent, staring stupified at the totem.

"Skara?"

"Huh-wha-heh?! Oh, Luz," Skara sighed. "Sorry, I'm just... I just can't believe it: I only wanted to pass the test-"

"And you passed! With flying colors!" Luz raised her hand. "High-five!"

Skara stared at Luz's hand for a while, but one look at Luz's puppy dog-eyed "don't leave me hanging" expression made her smile and clap her hand.

"Did I do right?"

"You did it perfectly!" Luz put a hand on Skara's shoulder. "Congratulations!"

Skara yelped and hopped back, grabbing her shoulder as she took a deep breath and calmed down.

"Oh, right, sorry. I thought the pain had left a while ago."

"It's okay," Skara eyed her shoulder. "It doesn't hurt as much as it used to, but I can still feel it."

Luz stated sympathetically at Skara, even as the bard forced a smile and added:

"I have to thank you, Luz. After all, I got the idea of mixing the melodies together from your... unorthodox thinking," Skara put a hand on her chest. "Still, I can't deny I took a big risk: I almost didn't get away with it!"

"But you did. And not only that," Luz looked closer at the wooden bird. "But you also got a palisman!"

"Yeah, well, mostly," Skara looked back at the avian totem. "I still need to bring it to life somehow."

"I'm sure you'll find a way!" Luz patted Skara's back. "If you could find a way to mix melodies to give the Bat Queen a feast, then I'm sure you'll find a way to bring the palisman to life!"

Skara flashed a smile, and looked at her brand new palisman before telling Luz:

"Thank you."

With that done, both girls walked back inside Hexside, taking only a few steps before Luz blurted:

"Oh right, I wanted to ask you: have you seen Boscha today?"

"I was gonna ask you the same thing," Skara raised an eyebrow. "You didn't see her during the Potions exam?"

Luz shook her head.

"Weird, her week of suspension's over, so I figured she'd come today," Skara raised her head. "Where could she be?"


On top of a crystalline structure in some kind of astral realm, a cloaked figure stood and watched the surrounding area, in particular a floating plataform where a guy with a crown sat in a royal manner.

Close behind the figure appeared two familiar faces: Chris and Phosphyllite, the latter now sporting golden arms.

"Well, here we are," Chris remarked. "The Astral Car."

"It's a lot more... tangible than I imagined," Phos remarked. "Are you sure we're in the right-?"

Suddenly, the figure threw their cloak away, covering Phosphyllite as they revealed themselves to be none other than Boscha, who wasted no time raising her arms in victory.

"At laaaaast!"

The three-eyed witch jumped off the top against Chris' orders, and fell for a bit before she hit the structure, then burst towards the throne room with a big explosion.

Phosphyllite threw the cloak away and grabbed Chris, who took the both of them to Boscha's side as she crash-landed on the pavement, no worse for wear. Then, she stood up, pointed at the crowned person, and exclaimed:

"Take me to your leader!"

Chapter Text

I feel so proud of this chapter I couldn't wait until next week to post it.

18 kudos and 4 bookmarks... I've gotten double that in some of my stories in the past, but I feel seriously accomplished right now.

Anyway, this author note will be long enough without me getting all emotional, so let's go.

First things first, a little trivia

Originally, while I was inspired by Blossoming Trail, my original idea was to write a Chloe-focused story. The basic idea would be that Chloe, trying to find a middle ground between what she wants and what everybody expects from her, chooses to become a Pokémon Connoiseur. You know, those guys from Unova who check the Bond between Pokémon and their Trainers.

Chloe in that story would also be more oblivious and quirky, if only to make her different from Blossoming Trail Chloe.

However, as much as I wanted to write this, my interest in the story slowly dwindled, and was replaced by a desire to write an Infinity Train crossover, cuz it looked fun.

I don't mind if somebody else adopts this story idea, however ;)

My idea for the crossover story was to have Tokio, shocked at Goh having moved on from their promise, get so disraught over it that the Train picks him up.

I think the reason why this story never came to fruition is as obvious as the story it's ripping off from.

I checked many other potential candidates: Mallow was out, since her story will be told. Same with Gladion. I was pondering either Lillie or Lusamine, but while those stories sound like a blast, it still feels too much like Blossoming Trail.

Then, it hit me: why not change the other fandom? Instead of a Pokémon and Infinity Train crossover, I could write an Owl House and Infinity Train crossover!

The passenger picking was smooth sailing: Amity was out, she's too easy an option. Boscha's the only other person I can think of for this, and I also realized, I can do something with her I don't think the show has ever explored:

How do people react if the passenger the Train picks up is someone people don't like? And that's a question I plan to answer.

See? Didn't need to get emotional for a long author's note XD

Anyway, before we move on, I thought of something fun: theorize what zodiac signs some characters would have. Now granted, technically only Luz would have one of these, but this is just for fun.

Anyway, this is what I got:

Boscha: Leo

Luz: Gemini

Amity: Aries

Skara: Scorpio

I know I missed a ton of characters, but let's be honest: the four are the most important of the bunch, so they get hypothetical zodiac signs.

Curse you, main character status!

And now we go back to focusing on Boscha, for better or for worse XD

P.S.: for the character of King Lartsa, despite how I describe him, just assume he looks like Astral from Yu-Gi-Oh... Zexal, I believe.

~Normal Inner Boscha~

~Apex Inner Boscha~


"Have you seen Boscha?!"

That wasn't one of the questions Gus was expecting to hear at the Human Appreciation Society, although if anybody was to ask him, Skara made the most sense.

"No, I'm afraid I haven't seen her," Gus replied. "Have you?"

"Would I be asking you if I had?!" Skara put a hand on her cheek. "It's been over a week since she was suspended, and not only did she not go to school today, but she doesn't answer her scroll!"

"Well, I'm sorry, but even if I had seen her, I'm not particularly close to her," Gus shrugged and scratched his chin. "In fact, I don't think anybody here was close to her."

Skara grimaced... until she remembered something.

"No, there's one person she was definitely close to! May I come in?!"

Gus smiled and moved aside, gesturing Skara to enter.

The bard bolted inside, and ran to a very peculiar member:

"Mattholomule!"

"S-Skara?!" the boy from the Construction track exclaimed. "What are you doing here?!" 

"I haven't seen Boscha anywhere today!" Skara grabbed Mattholomule's shoulders and leaned closer. "Have you seen her anywhere?!"

"No! What makes you think I would've seen her?!"

"If there's anybody other than her best friend that Boscha would tell about where she is, it would be her boyfriend!"

The atmosphere grew tensely quiet, Willow appearing at the door with a bouquet just in time to see the club members looking at Skara and Mattholomule in shock.

"I'm sorry, what?!" Gus exclaimed.

"I don't know why," Willow giggled. "But I get the feeling I came at just the right moment."

"What? Why are you all acting like this is such a big shock?" Skara asked as she let go of Mattholomule. "I thought everyone knew that already!"

"Know what?" Willow asked as she walked to Mattholomule's desk. 

Mattholomule sighed wearily. "That I'm Boscha's boyfriend."

Willow's eyes widened and she dropped the bouquet, which Skara hastily grabbed and put on the table before it hit the ground.

"Okay, so... Boscha has a boyfriend..." Willow put a hand on her head. "Boscha, of all people, has a boyfriend."

"Yes, we've already established how weird that is!" Mattholomule snapped, his face as red as a tomato. "Now could you please stop bringing that up?!"

"What... sure..." Willow took a deep breath. "I'm gonna go tend the plants at the schoolyard."

And with that, Willow awkwardly left the Human Appreciation Society, who returned to a sense of normalcy out of desperation soon after.

"Yes, I know what you mean Skara, but I honestly haven't heard about her," Mattholomule took out his scroll. "I've sent her messages, gave her a few calls, but she doesn't answer neither her scroll nor her crystal ball."

"And I checked her house, but it's completely empty!" Skara whined. "Ugh, where could she be?!"


"So, remind me, how did you not see this coming?"

~Yeah, why was I surprised at all?~

"Shut up, Chris!"

~Yeah, shut up, me!~

The trio of Boscha, Chris, and Phos sat inside an astral prison cell; it was like an ordinary prison cell, but astral. And as Chris and the three-eyed witch kept arguing, Phos rested their head near the bars, a bored look on their face.

"Hey, mister jailer, how long are we gonna stay here?" they blurted, hitting the bars slightly to get the guard's attention. "I don't think the weirdos here are gonna last much longer without blowing something up."

"Um, excuse you, I'm not a weirdo!" Boscha snapped. "Although, I will admit, I really could use blowing something up right now."

"Relax, inmates," the guard stated. "The king will come see you in a minute."

"The king? You mean, the actual ruler of this place?" Phos tilted their head. "Wouldn't it make more sense to send a representative or something?"

"That won't be necessary."

Without warning, the king of the Astral Car emerged from the ground, startling Phos to the point they crawled backwards until they hit the wall.

Once fully emerged, the king looked just like the other, ethereal, sky-like entities of the Astral Car, but with a cape, crown, and Golden eyes rather than white eyes.

~He looks like a nice person.~

"Greetings, I'm Lartsa, king of the Astral Car," he said while bowing slightly. "I wish we could meet under better circumstances, but to be fair, your arrival gave my soldiers little choice but to arrest you."

"Hey, you can't blame me for making a big entrance," Boscha answered, shrugging with a cocky smile. "A being that stands above everything demands an equally large entrance."

"You toppled one of my structures, causing untold amounts of collateral damage."

~Yeah, so?~

Boscha waved her hand dismissively. "Bah, larger than life figure, larger than life entrance."

"Please, forgive her, Your Highness," Chris said, floating to the bars. "She's got a little bit of an ego."

~Understatement of the year, Chris.~

"And I know the reason why," Lartsa leaned forward. "You're Boscha Urodela, the passenger from the Boiling Isles, aren't you?"

Boscha snapped her fingers and pointed at herself. "The one and only!"

Lartsa's pleasent smile faded, replaced by a judging scowl.

"You've made quite a name for yourself during this week, you know? Dashing from Car to Car, taking down any Denizen or Passenger who's unfortunate enough to get in your way, showing the same brutality to them, whether they merely annoy you or leave you no choice but to fight. And from this attitude, you've gained so many names: The Three-Eyed Inferno, Burning Despair, Lion of Cremation, The Car Slayer, Extinguisher of Hope-"

~Is he flirting with me?~

"Geez, Your Highness, stop flattering me, will you?" Boscha rolled her eyes. "If you have something to ask, just ask and I'll answer. No need to make things more difficult than they already are."

Lartsa lowered his eyelids, and grabbed one of the bars.

"Then tell me, Boscha Urodela, what brings you to my kingdom?"

Boscha jumped up and dusted herself. "I'm glad you asked!"

Boscha walked to the bars, and grabbed one of them, Lartsa keeping an eye on her while Phos and Chris exchanged concerned looks.

"You see, Your Highness, I come from a magical world. One where magic is divided into several different types, some so extreme that it's illegal to even talk about them."

Boscha smirked. "One of those "illegal" types of magic... is Astral Magic."

"I see," Lartsa scratched his chin. "Should I assume you came here believing that you could learn about that magic here?"

"I mean, it's the Astral Car, can you blame me for thinking the obvious?" Boscha snickered. "But, if I can't learn that here, I'll just keep looking all over the Train until I find it. Maybe topple a few more Cars along the way."

Lartsa sighed. "Learning this magic is important to you, isn't it?"

Boscha lowered her head, looking elsewhere as she somberly stated:

"I left a lot of things back at the Boiling Isles. Most of them, I'd rather never see again. But the few that I wanna see again... I really need to... It's only been a week since I got on this Train, and I'm so worried for-"

Without warning, Boscha slapped herself hard enough to leave a handprint, startling her companions while the king looked at her with neutrality.

After taking a deep breath, Boscha rubbed her cheeks, and shook her head.

"Sorry, weakness overtook me for a moment. Please act like nothing happened."

~Please.~

"... I can teach you Astral Magic."

The group flinched. "Huh?"

~He's kidding, right?~

~Shush! Let him give us what we want!~

"I said," Lartsa folded his arms behind his back. "I can teach you Astral Magic."

~He's totally lying.~

Boscha gained a hopeful smile, one that was different from the insane smirks and audacious smiles she showed before. This one was genuinely hopeful and nice to look at, kinda like the smile Luz wore constantly...

Sadly, it went away as soon as Lartsa added:

"What I can't do, is make you worthy of learning Astral Magic."

~Called it!~

As soon as she heard that, Boscha gritted her teeth and punched the bar.

"What did you say!?"

~How dare you!?!~

"Exactly what you heard: despite what you may think, Astral Magic isn't something anybody can learn. It's something that requires a great deal of discipline."

"I have discipline! I'm as worthy of learning it as everybody else in this place!" Boscha snapped before facing her companions. "Tell him, guys!"

"Tell him what?" Phos asked nonchalantly.

"That I'm worthy of learning Astral Magic!"

"You want us to lie point blank to the highest ruling authority in this place? Yeah, I don't think that's gonna work."

~Phos, you really are a gift sometimes.~

"Well, instead of lying, how about you're simply honest?" Lartsa's smile returned. "Phosphophyllite, right? You've been with Boscha for a while now, can you tell me some of her bad traits?"

"Oof! Where do I begin?" Phos folded their arms and looked around. "She's bossy, noisy, petty, cruel, stubborn, malicious-"

"Phosphyllite, have you forgotten who revived you from your shattered remains?" Boscha pointed out sternly. "Like, seriously, would it kill you to talk nicely about me for once?!"

"Depends, does dying of laughter count?" Phos replied. "Besides, I neither wanted to be revived, nor did I ask you to revive me. Then again, back then I could only really think about the pain of being left as sentient shards-"

"We can discuss that another day," Lartsa interjected. "For now, I believe you understand what I'm trying to say?"

~Yes.~

Boscha gritted her teeth. "Am I supposed to!?"

~Again, yes.~

"Astral Magic requires a clear mind, and a tranquil state of being," Lartsa lowered his eyelids. "And you're sorely lacking both."

Boscha looked honestly shocked at the statement, but her shock soon turned to anger as she gripped the bars tightly and began heating them up... or at least, tried to.

"Try as hard as you like: those bars won't melt away," Lartsa stated bluntly. "The only way you're going to leave that cell, is if you accept to do something for me."

Boscha calmed down and raised an eyebrow. "And that is?"

Lartsa smiled. "A favor."

On one hand, Boscha really hated vague answers. She hated it when her parents gave those answers, and you can bet she didn't stand the thought of this random, ethereal being tip-toing around giving her an actual answer.

But on the other hand, there wasn't really much she could do right now. The most she could do was hope that this favor somehow allowed her to prove to this king that she really was worthy of learning Astral Magic.

She really needed to learn it.

"Fine, I'll do you a favor. What is it?"

"Answer some questions while we look around the kingdom."

"... That's all?"

"That's all."

"... Let me talk about it with my companions."

Lartsa nodded. "Take all the time you need."

Boscha left the bars, walked to Phos and Chris, and crouched down.

"What do you guys think?"

"Do we really have a choice?" Phos asked while Chris closed his eyes and looked into the future. "I mean, even with these gold arms, I don't think I'm strong enough to break those bars, and you can't even burn them. Our best choice is to do as the king says."

"And you better be honest with every answer," Chris said as he returned to the present. "If you try to do something, you might end up offending the king and getting us tangled in a needless fight, or even worse, a war."

~You say that like it was a bad thing.~

~'Cause it is!~

Boscha hummed and scratched her chin. "I wouldn't mind getting to slaughter a thousand soldiers again-"

Phos and Chris glared at the girl with disapproval.

"I'm just kidding! Just joking! Geez, you guys are no fun!"

Chris looked into the future as Boscha walked back to the king, an exasperated Phos taking a deep breath as they asked:

"She wasn't kidding, was she?"

Chris returned to the present... and sighed. "No."

"Alright, Your Highness, we agree to your terms!" Boscha stated with a cocky smile. "Now get us out of here!"

With a snap of the king's fingers, the bars vanished, and the trio followed the king as he took them out of the dungeons.

"We once had a visitor that was similar to you, you know?" the king blurted, getting Boscha's attention. "Red hair, anger issues, accompanied by a pair of Denizens. Granted, hers were a sentient book and a Corgi."

"What's a Corgi?"

"It's a dog from Earth," Lartsa sighed. "But that's besides the point. The point is that I've dealt with someone similar to you before, so if you got any tricks up your sleeves, I'm afraid they won't work."

Boscha raised an eyebrow. "What tricks are you talking about?"

"Fire powers, summoning demons, hit me with a "donut holer", those kinds of things. She tried all of those tricks. All of them failed."

~Oh how I wished that was enough to deter me.~

"Hmph, well, I'll let you know I'm nothing like that girl!" Boscha boasted pridefully. "She sounds Strong, but she's no Apex like myself!"

Lartsa smiled. "If that's the case, then how about we start the questions?"

By the time Boscha nodded in agreement, the group had returned to the kingdom, where they got to walk across along a large, glass hallway surrounded by large statues, presumably of people who had previously come to the Astral Car.

The first statue they passed through depicted a metallic teenager with a fully shaved hair, wearing clothing that made her resemble a heavy metal fan.

"First things first, what's your personal philosophy?"

"Philoso-what now?"

"He means your fundamental thoughts," Chris explained. "What do you believe in personally?"

~Kill the world before it kills you!~

~Everyone deserves a chance to live.~

"Hmm... well, I believe that there are only two kinds of people: the Strong and the Weak. There's a ton of variants between them, but they still fall into one of those categories. And whether Strong or Weak, everybody's on their own in the end."

~Whether they like it or not...~

Lartsa raised an eyebrow. "So, nobody gets help where you come from?"

"No, helping is fine," Boscha narrowed her eyes as she remembered Amity's face. "As long as it doesn't cripple anybody."

~Like lowering yourself to their level. Disgusting.~

The next statue depicted a buff warrior with long, wild hair, wearing a crash helmet with extended horns.

"And how do you see yourself? Among these so called "Strong" and "Weak", where do you stand?"

"Ha, that's easy! I'm an Apex!" Boscha smirked, putting her hands on her hips. "A being that stands above all in this world, Strong and Weak alike! Laws, rules, I'm above all those things!"

~Not because I want to, though-~

~Don't listen to her! She's Weak!~

And then, the next statue made the team stop, for instead of depicting one person, they depicted two.

A dark-skinned brunette woman with dreadlocks, and a light-skinned blonde man with a ponytail. And most strikingly, both sported wavy markings across their faces.

"The Apex..." Chris grimaced.

"So," Phos lowered their eyelids, nowhere near stunned at the sight. "Even they came across this Car..."

"False Apex..."

Everybody turned around to see Boscha shivering, firecrackers bursting from her palms as she looked at the statue with a murderous glare.

~Don't do this.~

"Excuse me, but perhaps," Lartsa lowered his eyelids slightly. "Does this statue bother you?"

~Yes. It must be destroyed.~

Boscha didn't answer, instead, she immediately put her palms forward, aiming directly at the statue as she formed a large fireball.

"Boscha, what are you doing!" Phos exclaimed.

But the statement fell on deaf ears, as Boscha finished charging up and yelled:

"Firebolt!"

~Death to the Apex!~

The fireball was shot, and as soon as it hit the statue, it toppled, slowly falling until it shattered upon impact with the ground.

The dust settled as Boscha took several, heavy breaths, glaring at the remains of the statue with red, glowing eyes.

"I believe I've seen enough."

Boscha turned towards the king, who stood completely unfazed as the three-eyed pyromaniac growled at him:

"Don't tell me... you taught them how to do it!"

Lartsa shook his head. "The Apex, or what's left of them anyway, came here trying to find some solace. A chance to rest after the horrors a certain someone unleashed upon them."

~I figured... I'm glad... yet also sad.~

Lartsa turned to the statue. "And after seeing what you did, I have no reason to doubt it."

The king turned back to Boscha, who was barely keeping herself stable.

"You, Boscha Urodela, are not, and will never be, worthy of learning Astral Magic."

Boscha's eyes widened at the statement, a look of concern briefly appearing on her face before she scrunched it.

~Oh, he's dead!~

Phos and Chris tried to go after her, but a pair of astral guards stopped them in place.

"I challenge you to a duel!"

Everybody gasped as Boscha exclaimed that, pointing at the perplexed astral king.

"A duel?"

"If I win, you're gonna teach me how to do Astral Magic, whether I'm worthy to learn it or not!" Boscha snapped. "I didn't come all the way over here only to leave empty-handed!"

Then, she gritted her teeth, shooting daggers with red eyes as she added:

"I'll destroy this entire damn Car before I walk out of it without knowledge of Astral Magic!"

Boscha created a fireball, and shot it down, creating a ring of fire around the duo.

"And I'm not taking a no for an answer, Your Highness!"

Lartsa was barely fazed by the flames. "You realize I could just fly out of this ring, right?"

Boscha smirked. "Then you'd be forfeitting the battle, which means I win!"

~Wow, me, how mature.~

~Oh, shut up! You know how much we need to learn this magic!~

"Victory's all that matters to you, isn't it?"

~Victory's all that matters to everyone!~

"As long as it gets me what I want, then yes!" Boscha reached for her back. "And just to make sure my victory's assured..."

Boscha took out a long, pitch black sword from her back, whose blade shined as the king's eyelids slightly lifted.

"That sword... I believe there's a Denizen on the Train that has a very similar one," Lartsa hummed. "What was he called again?"

"The Black Swordsman," Boscha cockily answered, placing the black blade over her shoulder. "I came across him in some Aincrad Car or something, and I figured I could put his sword to good use. So I... convinced him to make me a copy."

~With extreme prejudice, naturally.~

"This sword is capable of cutting through anything: vehicles, attacks, defenses... and yes..."

Boscha gripped the sword and bolted towards the king.

"Even Denizens!"

Boscha leapt into the air, the king standing unfazed as the redhead laughed with a sadistic grin.

"It is true that the sword can cut through anything..."

Boscha swung the weapon... and Lartsa caught the blade with little trouble.

"But just like you said, you only have a copy."

Lartsa squeezed the blade, until it shattered, to Boscha's shock.

"A pretty cheap one at that."

And as Boscha looked shocked at the falling shards, Lartsa punched her hard enough to send her flying straight into a large, floating crystal structure, the impact causing her to crack it.

Damn that Kirito! He ripped me off! Boscha gritted her teeth and glared at what remained of her sword. If I ever see him again, I'll rip his head right off his shoulders and turn it into a jack-o-lantern!

~Don't ask what a jack-o lantern is in the Boiling Isles. Please.~

Then, she looked at Lartsa's smiling face in the distance.

But first...

"So, if leaving the circle means the fight is forfeit," the king blurted. "Does that mean you forfeit?"

"You wish!"

Boscha took a deep breath, and released a stream of fire at the remains of the blade, forming a blade made of fire that she used to lunge and slash at the astral king.

Of course, Lartsa didn't need to do much more than just dodge Boscha's wild swings, all while commenting about it, of course:

"No strategy, no finesse, no rhyme nor reason. You're not so much fighting as you are trashing about like a wild animal."

"Shut the hell up!"

~How dare you rightfully point out my lack of combat style!~

Boscha swung her sword again, but this time, Lartsa punted her hard enough to send her rolling near the flames, letting go off her sword so the flames would consume it.

"This continued struggle won't get us anywhere, Boscha Urodela," the astral king stated sternly. "You cannot hit me, for I'm an intangible being. No matter how hard you try, no attack you throw at me can hurt me."

~I know, but I can't help it! Something's forcing me to fight anyway!~

~And that something's called survival!~

Hearing that, Boscha got an idea, and smirked as she closed her eyes, dusted herself, and began floating.

"You have a point, Your Highness. No matter what I do now, I don't have enough power to beat you. Therefore, there's only one thing left to do."

Lartsa smiled. "And that would be?"

Boscha opened her eyes, revealing her pupils had turned red. Not as in they were glowing red, they were literally red.

"Use more power!"

Lartsa frowned in visible disapproval, while his guards, Phos, and Chris stared in complete disbelief.

"More... power?" Chris asked, his eyes turning as wide as dinner plates.

"You gotta be kidding me!" Phos exclaimed, glaring at Boscha. "You mean to tell me that after all the crap you've pulled this week, you weren't even trying!?"

~I'm sorry! I didn't mean to show off!~

Boscha scoffed. "Why answer you, when I can just show you?"

Sparks flew from Boscha's being as she undid her ponytail, letting her hair flow and grow as it turned yellow, resembling a lion's mane as it flew in the wind.

Then, Boscha's fingers turned into claws, and she spread her arms as she proclaimed:

"Look in awe, Your Highness! For very few have managed to witness this form of mine and live to tell the tale! This is me, using a decent percentage of the Salamander's power! The very flames that once ravaged the Boiling Isles so new life could arise from the ashes are mine to command!"

~I call this form, "You're Fucked!"~

"I can see that, alright," Lartsa lowered his eyelids. "What I can't see is how that's supposed to beat me."

Boscha summoned a pair of fireballs.

"Let me show you!"

The fire witch shot the fireballs into the air, merging them together before shooting another fireball at it, causing it to explode.

Lartsa stood in place as fireballs rained down the arena, a smug grin on Boscha's face as she floated in place, every single fireball failing to hit her as well.

Luckily, though, they did seem to miss Chris, Phos, and the guards, some even stopping and turning around so they'd clash with fireballs that were headed straight to their way.

By the time the fireballs stopped raining, the arena was wrecked, several holes left behind with scorching marks and steam. Even the flames surrounding the duo had been extinguished...

And yet, Lartsa stood in place, completely unharmed.

"W... W-Wha... What the-"

"So, was that just a warm up?" the king pondered out loud. "'Cause if it wasn't, I still don't see how that's supposed to beat me."

~Phew...~

~You... You...~

"H-How!? No really, how!?" Boscha snapped, her veins glowing and resembling volcanic cracks as she covered one of her fists. "Nobody has ever come out of my ultimate attack unscathed!"

Boscha flew towards the king, fire punch extended forward.

"I already told you..."

Boscha reached Lartsa... and her fist went right through it.

"I'm an intangible being. You can't hurt me, because there's nothing for you to hurt."

Boscha barely got the time to process this before Lartsa grabbed her face, and shoved her straight into the ground, hard enough to leave a crack.

He then punted her to the side, Boscha rolling for a moment until she stopped, her eyes and hair turning back to their original colors.

"The flames have been extinguished. The arena has been wrecked. You've been knocked out of your "super form" as most would call it," Lartsa spoke with an authoritarian voice, approaching Boscha as he did. "With this in mind, do you still wish to fight?"

"YES!"

Everybody stood stunned as Boscha's shout echoed across the astral plane, the three-eyed witch using all her strength to stand up again.

"I'll fight you, again and again, until you concede and teach me how to use astral magic!"

"I see the stories of your stubbornness are true," Lartsa narrowed his eyes.

"Stop pushing it, Boscha!" Phos pleaded. "After that beating, you can barely even stand! Our best option is to bail and-!"

"Stop looking down on me!" Boscha yelled at the crystalline humanoid. "I came here to learn how to us Astral Magic, and I refuse to leave empty handed!"

"Boscha, while you were fighting, I took a look at as many potential futures as I could!" Chris exclaimed. "Not a single one of them had you winning the fight!"

"Then I'll just grab destiny itself and tear him a new one!" Boscha yelled, clenching and raising her fist. "Don't you remember? I'm an Apex! I can't be beaten! I can't be stopped! And I can't be-!"

"Killed?"

Without warning, the blades of Lartsa's swords, which summoned out of thin air, stood inches away from Boscha's neck, the girl freezing in place as a sense of dread fell down her spine.

"As a Denizen, my purpose in life is to help passengers deal with their issues and leave the Train. However, as a king, I also have a duty to protect my kingdom. So if push comes to shove, I will take drastic measures to ensure you can't hurt anybody: not this realm, not your partners, and not even yourself."

Boscha raised her head, meeting the king's cold expression as he added:

"So, with this in mind, Boscha Urodela... do you still think learning Astral Magic's worth it?"

~No! Absolutely not!~

~...I...~

A long silence filled the kingdom soon after, one where the only sound heard was that of the window that chose this very moment to blow.

And after a few, suspenseful seconds, something happened. Something once thought impossible by Chris and Phos alike.

Boscha not only began to cry, but to plead.

"Your Highness, please... teach me... I need to learn this magic now..."

~No! Don't beg! Don't plead! That's weakness! If you lower your guard like that, you'll be killed!~

~We'll be killed anyway if we fight back.~

~......~

Chris and Phos frowned with sympathy. "Boscha-"

As soon as she heard that, Boscha's eyes glowed red as she yelled:

"DON'T LOOK AT ME!"

The duo quickly obliged, Phos sneaking a couple looks as the king replied:

"Why do you need to learn?"

Boscha looked back at the king.

"Why is learning Astral Magic so important that you would go so far to learn it?"

Boscha lowered her head.

"Because... if I don't learn it... I-I can't keep Skara safe..."

The king tilted his head. "Skara?"

"She's my best... my only friend, back at the Boiling Isles..."

Boscha began shivering, tears streaming down even from her third eye as she explained:

"And while I'm stuck here on this stupid Train, she's back in the Boiling Isles, where people will torture her for being my friend, and I can't even be there to protect her and-"

The blades edged closer, startling the witch into a pause.

"Take a moment to breath, and explain."

Boscha took a long, deep breath. She wiped the tears off her eyes, and sighed:

"Nobody likes me back home. Everybody hates me. Fears me. A-And those who hang around me... e-even if they're nothing like me, they're harassed and socially tortured j-just because they keep me company. When I learned this, I-I drove them away, I got them to leave before it was too late..."

"But Skara didn't?"

Boscha began crying again. "I tried! I really tried! But no matter what I said, what I did, she stood by my side no matter what! And the only reason she didn't get socially bullied like my other former friends was because I was there to burn alive anybody who tried!"

"And that's why you wanna learn Astral Magic," Lartsa lowered his eyelids. "So you can keep an eye on your friend?"

"Skara's Strong, but even an Apex succumbs to bullying," Boscha wiped away her tears once more. "And if I'm not there to protect her, to support her, who knows what sort of horrors she'll be made to suffer, all because she didn't leave me like everybody else!"

Hearing that, the king pulled his swords away, and Boscha collapsed on the ground, grasping for air as Chris and Phos were finally let go to run to their side.

"I see how it is," Lartsa sighed. "However, even with the reason no longer a mystery, I still can't teach you anything."

Boscha gritted her teeth, baring her fangs at the king. "Why you..."

"Because you're not in the right state of mind to learn," Lartsa added. "Astral Magic requires a calm mind, free of negative thoughts. But your mind is drowning in those ideas: fear, anger, sadness, concern, all of these things are invading your thoughts."

The king crouched down, and put a hand on Boscha's shoulder.

"I can't teach you not because you're not strong enough to learn, but because teaching you how to do it when your mind's as it is would be detrimental."

~I can see that.~

"Wait..." Boscha blinked twice. "That was the reason all along? W-W-Why didn't you just tell me then!?"

"Because I wanted you to learn firsthand how it feels to be put through a test that you gotta figure out on your own."

I see, so this is how it feels to be on the receiving end of one of my lessons. Titandammit...

"So, where do we go from here?" Phos asked. "Do we just leave empty-handed?"

"Not necessarily," Lartsa replied. "Before your friend can learn Astral Magic, she needs to clear her mind of those negative thoughts of her. Negative thoughts whose source was a lack of a positive environment."

Boscha looked elsewhere, narrowing her eyes as he continued:

"Therefore, if you clear her mind, you can come back here, and I can teach her how to do it."

Boscha perked up. "Really?!"

"But how are we gonna get back here after we clear her mind?" Chris asked. "The Train is literally endless! Not only would it take us forever to reach a car to clear her mind, it'd take us even longer to get back here!"

"Not really, because you see, the Train doesn't work like any ordinary train," Lartsa folded his arms. "Instead of the Cars being connected to one another, they're connected to what the passengers need."

Boscha tilted her head. "How does that work?"

"Think of it like this: if you need something in particular, the Train will open a door that'll lead you to a Car that has something you need. For example, if you want something to eat, it'll take you to a Car with plenty of food. And if you need to wash clothes, it'll take you to a Laundry Car."

Lartsa eyed Chris and Phos. "It even works with Denizens, though in their case, it can only link them back to their origin Car."

"Really? Then that means..." Chris looked at Phos. "You could go back to your home, Phos!"

Phos flashed an uneasy expression. "You say that like it's a good thing."

Boscha raised an eyebrow. "It's not?"

"No..." Phos looked elsewhere. "Not now."

Lartsa snapped his fingers, and a door with an infinity sign opened.

"That's all I had to tell you. You should probably go ahead while you still can."

Boscha stood up and walked towards the door, only to stop when Phos and Chris followed her.

"What are you doing?"

"We're coming with you," Chris replied.

"Even after what I said?" Boscha narrowed her eyes. "Especially after everything I've done on this Train for the past week? You could be lambasted if you keep associating with me!"

"If I can take a punch from you to the face and be no worse for wear, then I can take whatever this Train throws at me," Chris stated with a proud smile. "Besides, I promised I would stop you from going on a rampage, and that's a promise I intend to keep."

"Chris is right, more than moral support, you need someone who's willing to put a stop to your stuff before you go too far," Phos stated. "So, even if you don't want us close to you as friends, then at least let us stay close enough to stop you from making your number go any higher."

Hearing that, Boscha looked at her palm, where her number was now at full display.

And that number was 16,760.

"You make a good point," Boscha sighed. "Sure, come with me."

"Until we meet again, Boscha Urodela," the astral king spoke.

Boscha flashed a thumbs up, and she and her group walked through the portal, taking them straight to... a forest in the middle of the night.

"Well, this isn't what I expected," Boscha folded her arms. "Then again, since what I had in mind was rather violent, maybe this is for the better."

"What's this?"

The group flinched and put their backs together, ready to strike if necessary.

"Girls, looks like we got visitors!"

"Ooh, visitors!"

"The three-eyed one looks cute!"

Boscha gritted her teeth, coating her fists in flames. "How dare she-"

~I mean, thanks for the compliment, but still...~

"Boscha, put those flames out!" Chris exclaimed, scanning his surroundings. "We're in the middle of a forest; if you're careless, you could end up setting everything on fire!"

"Yeah, like what happened at the Duck Hunt Car!" Phos exclaimed.

"It's not my fault, okay?!" Boscha pouted. "That stupid dog wouldn't stop laughing!"

~And now he'll never laugh at an incompetent marksman ever again!~

Giggles were heard as shadowy figures emerged from the background, surrounding the group as one of them spoke:

"Hello there, visitor. We'd like to welcome you to..."

With a snap of her fingers, several lights turned on, revealing the figured were actually young women who all shouted in unison:

"The Cursed Princess Club!"

Boscha doused her flames unconsciously, Phos and Chris sharing her confusion as they tilted their heads and said in unison:

"What?"


After school, Skara ran to the back of Hexside, where an oddly troubled-looking Amelia leaned against a wall.

"Amelia! I got your message!" Skara chirped, startling the greenette. "Did you really find a way to contact Boscha?!"

Amelia winced, and looked at the corner nearby, where Cat gave her a thumbs up before sinking into the shadows.

"W-Well, it's just an idea," Amelia stammered before she turned back to Skara. "But you know how Oracle magic lets the user see into the past and future?"

"Yeah?"

"Well, there's an urban legend that says that an Oracle powerful enough can channel a crystal ball hard enough to discover the location of anybody in the world," Amelia twiddled her fingers. "So, in theory, there's the possibility that we can contact Boscha, wherever she is, and find out if she's okay or not..."

"Well, it's better than nothing... although, I can't use Oracle magic to save my life..." Skara snapped her fingers. "But I do know someone who's part of both the Oracle and Potions track who could try it out!"

"And I know Selene's in the Oracle track, so she might have a better chance at contacting her," Amelia nodded. "I-I'll go see if she's available. You wait for me here, alright?"

"Sure!"

And with that, Amelia took a few steps, then looked back at Skara with visible regret before she ram away.

Skara, for her part, wasn't quite sure what was bothering Amelia so much... until she felt a chill go down her spine.

"Hello there, Skara."

The bard turned around, and saw Cat enter the scene with some of Boscha's other "friends" by her side.

"Oh hey, Cat," the bard greeted. "What's up?"

*SMACK!*

"Don't "what's up?" me!" Cat snapped. "Not after what you did to Amelia!"

"Huh?! What did I do?!" Skara cried, putting a hand on her slapped cheek. "If you mean just now, we were just talking!"

"Hmph, first you hurt Amelia in ways you can't imagine, and then you act like it didn't matter?!" Cat put her hands on her hips. "Heh, I guess it's to be expected from Boscha's little pet, huh?"

"Pet?! I'm not her pet!" Skara snapped defensively. "I'm her best friend!"

"Sure, and we're her friends too... NOT! Do you really think we don't know what game you're playing? Nobody would ever want to be friends with Boscha, not unless they had something to gain from it! Protection, social status, stuff like that!"

Cat grabbed Skara's chin and forced her to look at her.

"We were never Boscha's friends. We just wanted to be part of her posse because nobody bothers her and those she hangs around with. And now that she's gone, so is the posse. And if there's no posse and no Boscha..."

Cat reached for Skara's pocket and took out her flute, right before one of the guys grabbed her in a full nelson and lifted her.

"Then there's no need to delay the beating you deserve."

Chapter Text

And here's chapter six.

Remember how chapter three turned out to be quite a shock? Yeah, expect the same here.

Also, you're probably wondering how the Apex is doing. Sadly, we won't see them for a while; right now I wanna focus on Boscha and the Boiling Isles side of the story. We will see them again, don't worry, but for now, they're off in the background.

Also, for those wondering who the people in the statues were, the first one's supposed to resemble MT from Book 2, while the second statue's supposed to be Jasper from Steven Universe Future.

And for those wondering what the Cursed Princess Club is or where it's from, it's a club for princesses who have been saddled with terrible, incurable curses, who are taught to love themselves regardless of said curses. It's from a webcomic at Webtoon of the same name, and believe me when I say it's worth reading it.

Finally, regarding the timeline of this story and Blossoming Trail, there are two options:

1) This takes place AFTER The Fog Car, since the Apex are still around, and I'm assuming Simon is still alive because, let's be honest, how can you get more cruel to him than letting him live past his misdeeds? So, a slight alternate universe.

2) This is an outright alternate timeline or alternate universe compared to Blossoming Trail. I edge more towards the latter, but you guys come to your own conclusions.

Also, remember Willow? Yeah, me neither, so let's start this chapter that puts focus on her!

~Normal Inner Boscha~

~Apex Inner Boscha~


Willow Park was as hardworking as they came. Even before her parents put her into the Abomination track with the hopes of giving her more career choices, she always gave it her all when it came to her studies.

And yet, she couldn't help but feel that, lately, she hadn't been trying hard enough.

"Alright, here you go," she said as she handed Luz a bouquet of flowers. "The bouquet you requested."

"Thanks, Willow, you're the best!" Luz chirped. "I mean, I have no idea why Amity would want this thing, but if she says it's a thing lovers do, guess I gotta do it!"

"Now that you mention her, Luz," Willow scratched her head. "Are you really okay with the way Amity's taking things?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, it's just... it kinda feels like Amity's carrying the entire relationship, you know?"

"Actually, I did talk to her about it, and she insisted that I should let her take care of this," Luz shrugged. "And since I'm a complete begineer in the course of romanticism, I'm gonna need instructions!"

"Yeah, I can see that," Willow let out a hearty laugh. "Anyway, I'm happy to help. Call me again if you need anything else."

"I will! Thanks again!"

Willow waved goodbye as Luz strolled away, her smile slowly fading as Luz's figure vanished over the horizon.

Once she was gone, so was her smile, and Willow sat down on the ground and began to ponder what to do next.

Should she talk to Amity? She was, after all, the first person to know about her crush on Luz, but she didn't do anything about it because... well, just what was she supposed to do? How do you even begin telling one of your friends that the person that's bullied you since you were kids now has a crush on them?

At the very least, Luz should be allowed to pull her own weight in the relationship. Even if that somehow lead to her getting into trouble because, let's be honest, Luz had a bad habit of getting into shenanigans.

She stood up, and began looking around. She needed something to clear her mind right now. Maybe train her Plant control with the many vegetation lurking around, or...

Wait, was that Skara? Eating lunch by herself?

Well, the two never really shared a word with each other nowadays, but just like Luz said:

"There's always a first for everything."

So, she walked to the table, and sat down.

"Hello, Skara. You mind if I-OH MY TITAN!"

From where Willow sat, she could see that not only was Skara's nose bleeding, but one of her eyes was pitch black and only partially opened, though the bard didn't really seem to notice once she acknowledged Willow's presence.

"Oh, hi Willow."

"Skara, are you alright?!"

"Yeah, I guess so," Skara said while dusting herself. "Believe it or not, I've been through worse."

"You got a bloody nose and a black eye!"

"I stand corrected," Skara took a bite off her food. "Did you come here for something or do you just want to make small talk?"

"Well, I wanted to make some small talk, but seeing you like this..." Willow shook her head. "What happened? And why are you eating alone? Where are your friends, or Boscha's posse, or whatever?"

"Ha! Friends!" Skara chuckled for a moment before sighing. "The posse disbanded. Without Boscha or somebody with an equally strong personality, or power, to lead it, there was no reason for any of us to stay together. So, everybody went their separate ways... after playing with my feelings, of course."

"Playing with your feelings?"

Skara looked elsewhere. "Amelia, a member of the posse, told me that she found a way to contact Boscha involving Oracle magic. And I, like a complete idiot, decided to trust her and waited for her to find a crystal ball."

"And what happened?"

"I fell for the bait, hook, line, and sinker! That's what happened!" Skara snapped, slamming her fist down the table. "While I waited for her to return, Cat, another member, arrived with some of other members of the posse, who took away my flute, grabbed me, and held me in place as they beat me up! All while stating how dumb I was for being friendly with someone like Boscha!"

Willow frowned. "You mean, besides you, the posse weren't really friends with Boscha?"

"I asked them the same thing. They said they "knew better" than to be friends with a psycho like her."

Okay, Willow wasn't one to deny that Boscha's personality wasn't the type that would win a lot of people's affection, but good lord, if even her posse didn't see themselves as her friends, was Skara really all she had?

"Willow, I know you're probably curious and concerned about this, but I'm really not in the mood to talk about that," Skara sipped her drink. "I'm willing to talk about anything else with you, anything at all, just... let's drop the subject, okay?"

With that statement, Willow got an idea.

"In that case, maybe you could help me with something?"


Once things had calmed down the next day, Boscha, Phos, and Chris joined the Cursed Princess Club in their usual routine.

But before that, Boscha was forced to ditch her Hexside uniform, mostly because she was long overdue for a new look after wearing the same thing for over a week: a fact that still left the club astounded.

Though granted, most of the Cars that Boscha's group went through didn't have many fashion options, but still.

Boscha now wore a yellow lacy dress, with a lion's roaring face at the sides, with a pearly white apron and bowtie.

"Well, I have to be honest: while I think it was about time you got a wardrobe change," Chris floated to Boscha's side, and looked at the lion-eared headband in her head. "Isn't the headband a little too much?"

"Actually, I picked this myself," Boscha spoke, poking the ears. "I thought they'd match, and if I'm going to be forced to wear a dress, I might as well add something to it myself."

"You mean you don't like dresses?" Phos asked, tilting their head.

~It's a long story...~

Boscha looked elsewhere. "It's complicated, but long story short, nothing good ever happens when I wear a dress. I do like how it looks on me, though."

~It makes me look like a stupid kid, though.~

"Hmm, I see."

Then, Boscha remembered something. "Right, I should probably make the dress fireproof."

Phos smiled. "That does sound like a good idea, since this is you we're talking about."

Boscha ignored Phos' comment and bit her finger hard enough to draw blood. She then grabbed the edges of the dress and pulled it, allowing her to draw a triangle encased in a circle.

"Did you really have to draw that with your own blood?" Chris winced. "In fact, didn't it hurt?"

~Like hell!~

~But this is nothing compared to life in the Underworld.~

Boscha rolled her eyes and quickly healed her finger. "If you can't stand a little blood, then look away, genius."

The door was knocked twice. "Boscha, mind if I come in? There's someone I'd like you to meet."

"Nah, go ahead."

The door opened, and the president of the Cursed Princess Club, Calpernia, entered alongside a green skinned girl that... honestly, looked quite like a goblin.

"Boscha, this is Gwendolyn, the princess of the Pastel Kingdom," Calpernia said as Gwen waved her hand. "I know she might look a bit... unorthodox, but I assure you, she's a nice girl."

~I'll be the one to judge that.~

"Hi," Gwen greeted, waving her hand. "Nice to meet you, Boscha."

~Hi! I like you already!~

The three-eyed witch narrowed her eyes. "Why aren't you scared?"

Gwen tilted her head. "Am I supposed to?"

"I'm Boscha Urodela! You know, Lion of Cremation? Car Slayer? Hope Extinguisher!?"

"Titles like those don't mean anything here: everybody's equal in the Cursed Princess Club," Calpernia said with a little smile. "Now, there's something I'd like to ask you. See, we had a tea party planned for today, and we were wondering if you'd like to come to it. Your companions can come as well, if they wish."

"I don't really eat or drink anything, though," Phos pointed out.

"That's fine! This tea party's more of a get-together kinda thing," Calpernia smiled. "It's a moment of relaxation where everybody gets to know each other."

~That sounds fun!~

~That sounds pointless.~

"Well, in that case, I guess I don't mind," Boscha put her arms behind her head. "So long as I get to leave this stupid Car after engaging in your little pretend tea party."

Calpernia blinked twice. "Pretend? Boscha, we're having an actual tea party."

It was then that something unexpected happened once more: Boscha slowly turned to the princesses, but rather than be displeased or angry, the expression on her face was one most people didn't think was possible for her.

She was afraid.

"C... come again?"


Meanwhile, in the middle of a lake, Luz rowed a boat on one side while Amity sat on the other, holding a purple parasol with a spiral theme to it on one hand, and the bouquet Luz requested for her on the other.

"Ah, isn't this nice, Luz?" Amity remarked joyfully. "Us on a boat, in the middle of a beautiful day, all we really need left is someone to play some music."

"Well, don't look at me," Luz sighed. "I'm taking a break from anything musical ever since I made Eda and Lilith freak out with my violin skills."

Amity raised an eyebrow. "When did that happen?"

"Trust me, you don't want to know."

Amity giggled, and put the bouquet down. "Well, I guess I can play the music instead."

She then took out a violin and began playing it, with the resulting music causing Luz to quip with a smile:

"Alright, we got the boat, you got the parasol, the flowers, the beautiful day, the music. All we need is a kitchen sink and this'll be the best date ever!"

And as Luz chuckled, Amity drew a circle in the air and the violen was surrounded by a purple aura, which kept it playing as she leaned closer to the giggling human girl, using her parasol to block the view as she went in for a kiss.

And once the kiss was heard, a startled Luz pushed Amity back, blushing brightly as Amity stood up and snapped:

"What are you doing!?"

"What are you doing, kissing me all of a sudden?!" Luz replied, clutching her chest. "You didn't even give me a warning or anything!"

"Because things were perfectly setup!" Amity huffed, stomping the boat. "I followed the book down to the letter!"

"The what?!"

Amity reached for her back, and took out a peculiar book with a peculiar title:

Azura and the Date of a Lifetime

"So, wait a minute," Luz grabbed the book and began reading it. "You mean to tell me you got the idea for this date, from an Azura the Good Witch book?"

"Why not? It's one of the greatest books series of all time!" Amity sat back down and crossed her legs. "And besides, Willow suggested me to follow it."

"Willow?"

"Yup."

Luz closed the book gently and handed it back. "Amity, don't you think she was just messing with you when she said that?"

"Nonsense! Willow knows how important this relationship is for me."

"Us."

"Us, yes, that's totally what I meant!" Amity corrected haughtily. "And besides, you have to admit things are going according to the book: a boat, two lovebirds on a boat, a sunny day-"

And then, a droplet landed on Amity's head and burned her. However, her pain was soon replaced with shock as more and more droplets landed, some on the water, and some on the boat...

"Oh no, don't tell me..."

Both girls looked up and, to their horror, it began to rain...

"Boiling rain! Luz, get us outta here!"

"WEAK NERD ARMS, DON'T FAIL ME NOW!"

Luz rowed as fast as she could, so fast in fact, that the duo and their stuff were sent flying off the river and rolling into safety, underneath a convenient cave.

"Was boiling rain part of the date in the book?" Luz asked nonchalantly.

"Of course not!... Is what I'd say if I had read that far ahead," Amity sighed. "Let me check... wait, where's the book?!"

Amity checked her surroundings: she still had her umbrella, and the bouquet, but the violin and the book had been left behind on the rain, with them starting to melt as Amity screamed.

"THE BOOK!"

But before she could leave her safe space, Luz grabbed her by the waist.

"Amity, are you crazy!? It's raining!"

"But I can't let the book melt away! Otherwise I won't know how to date properly!"

"You won't know it anyway if you wind up dead!"

Luz managed to pull Amity back, and once they separated, they saw both the violin and book melt away into nothing, the rain growing stronger soon after.

With that done, Amity took a deep breath and leaned against the rocky walls of the cave as Luz sat right next to her.

"Now what am I supposed to do?! That book was the only way I had to know how to date properly!"

Luz put a hand on Amity's shoulder, startling her as she said:

"If it helps, I don't think it would've helped that much. I mean, I haven't had any dates before, but I can tell you that romance books aren't exactly the most realistic depiction of dating either."

Amity raised a skeptical eyebrow. "You're looking for realism in a fantasy book?"

"Look, all I'm saying is that rather than follow a book's idea of a date," Luz flashed a reassuring smile. "How about we try to get some practical experience instead?"

"... I don't get it."

"I'll explain it to you later."

A short silence happened between the duo as the boiling rain continued outside, with it lasting until Luz blurted:

"Hey, Amity? I've been meaning to ask you-"

"Yes, Luz?"

"Well, how would you react if... if the reason I found out about your crush on me-"

"Yeah?"

"... Was because someone sent me a letter revealing it?"

Amity paused, and hummed as she scratched her chin in contemplation.

"That makes sense. I mean, I'm sure I'd never be able to confess to you, and I wasn't exactly being subtle about it. Someone would eventually connect the dots and get an idea."

"That's what I thought."

"And once the dots were connected, they'd realize a third party would be needed to get things going."

"Of course."

"But since revealing it in public would be too much, they instead give you a letter so you can take the first steps."

"Sure."

"But why would Willow send a letter instead of telling you in private? The latter's more her style-"

"I'm talking about Boscha!"

Amity flinched and faced Luz, who flinched back and stammered her words as she tried to backpedal.

Not that it mattered, since Amity burst out laughing soon after.

"Oh, Luz, you're a riot sometimes! Boscha?! Seriously?!" Amity shook her head and narrowed her eyes. "She's, like, the last witch who'd ever care for someone's romance!"

Then, she grew serious. "And even if she realized it and sent a letter, why would anybody trust her? She's a self-serving brat who only cares about herself, if she's trying to kickstart a relationship, it's to get something out of it-"

"W-Which is why I'm just suggesting that's a possibility!" Luz exclaimed, sweating a back as she scratched the back of her head. "I'm totally not suggesting that she did it! B-But if she did... what would you think?"

Amity folded her arms and looked elsewhere.

"I think any relationship kickstarted by her should be terminated immediately. To keep it going would be to play into her hands, and that's the last thing anybody needs."

"I... I see..." Luz frowned. "I'm sorry for suggesting such an idea."

Amity turned back to Luz and smiled. "Apology accepted."

And so, the girls remained quiet as they waited for the boiling rain to stop, holding hands all the while.


Once the rain stopped, Skara and Willow went to a different part of the Boiling Isles, the latter stretching while the former tried to remember a specific melody.

"Willow, I insist that this is a bad idea," Skara told the bespectacled witch. "I know it's not nearly as dangerous as when Boscha did it, but you don't have to do this to see if she was right or not."

"I don't want to do this to prove her right," Willow replied, pausing before she added. "I wanna do this because... well, I just wanna be more prepared in case something like that happens again."

"Willow-"

"I stood still terrified while the revived mandragora was holding Amity hostage," Willow lowered her head. "I need to try get braver so I'm not a burden next time."

"And your best idea to do that is to face a mandragora again?"

Willow frowned, and though she looked positively sad at the statement, it was also rather clear that she wasn't going to back down.

"Ugh, I can see why Boscha said you were stubborn. Alright, give me a second, I think I got it."

Skara took a deep breath, and began playing the mandragora melody, an earthly theme that, while not long in length, definitely gave a soothing vibe.

A vibe that was over as soon as Skara finished and the girls began to wait.

"That was a pretty nice melody," Willow remarked. "You're quite good with that flute."

"Thanks," Skara looked at her flute. "You'd think I'd only bother to play it well because I'm a Bard student and all, but it's actually rather fun."

"I'm glad to hear that," Willow clasped her hands. "Say, now I'm curious, where did you get that flute?"

Skara hummed. "I'm pretty sure someone gave it to me. But I don't remember who did it."

"You don't remember?!" Willow exclaimed, calming down when Skara flinched. "I-I mean, you don't remember?"

"My head's been spinning since the beating I got," Skara scratched her head, and looked elsewhere. "But even if it wasn't spinning, I dunno, I just... can't remember who did it."

Willow eyed the flute, then Skara, and flashed a smile.

"I'm sure whoever gave it to you's very happy right now."

"I hope so," Skara chuckled. "I had to train real hard to play this as well as I can."

Willow giggled. "I can imagine-"

Then, the ground began to shake, and the trees shook.

"Okay, it's coming," Skara remarked. "You better get ready."

Willow clenched her fists, and narrowed her eyes, ready to face the incoming mandragora...

Or so she thought, for though a Mandragora did come out of the trees, this one was far larger than the one Amity revived, its eyes sporting an intimidating red glow as it roared at the girls.

"A Dire Mandragora?!" Skara exclaimed. "What's one of those doing here, and why was it the one who heard my melody!?"

"Uh, sorry if I'm being a little dumb, but, what's a Dire Mandragora?"

"Let me give you a hint: it's like a Mandragora, BUT DIRE!" Skara readied her wand-flute. "Stay back, this thing's too dangerous for either of us, so I'll drive it away-"

Just as soon as she began to blow her wand-flute, Skara was grabbed by the Dire Mandragora, who glared at her before swallowing her whole.

"Skara!"

The Bard student fell down a wooden tube down into what could only be assumed to be the Dire Mandragora's stomach. She landed on top of a large piece of wood, surrounded by green liquid that was swarming with skulls and skeletons, some having partially melted while others were intact.

Skara didn't take long to connect the dots, and as soon as she did, she let out the loudest scream she could muster, one that came out just as the Dire Mandragora roared at Willow next.

The Plant track student took a step back, but as the behemoth readied a punch, she spotted something that could be the key to defeating it.

The Dire Mandragora's heart.

So, upon dodging its punch, Willow hopped on top of it and ran, summoning vines from within the monster's arm to slide towards the exposed heart.

Once close enough, Willow summoned more vines, this time using them as a whip to wrap around the heart and pull it, causing the beast to roar in pain.

However, even against the Dire Mandragora's volatile shaking, Willow stood her ground and kept pulling, and pulling, until eventually, the heart came off... and knocked her back to the ground.

And just in time, too, since the beast exploded soon after, with the skulls, plant matter, and even Skara flying off and landing all over the place.

Or in Skara's place, right next to Willow.

"Well, at least that's taken care of," Willow adjusted her glasses by the bridge and ran to Skara's side. "Are you okay, Skara?"

The Bard gestured Willow to wait, then took a deep breath...

"AAAAAAAAAH!"


AAAAAAAH!

~AAAAAAH!~

~Ah?~

That was Boscha's internal scream, as well as those of her inner voices, as she found herself sitting at a table, the Cursed Princess Club's tea party currently in session, and with Phos and Chris sitting on separate tables from her.

From what she could see, Chris and Phos were having a pretty decent time: drinking tea with the other members of the CPC and, in Phos' case, talking with a princess with pincer hands about having different arms.

Okay, Boscha, don't freak out.

~Now's the perfect time to freak out!~

You're wearing a dress, you're in a tea party, everything seems-

~Like that one horrible time! That horrible, awful time!~

... familiar... b-but just because everything resembles... that damn day... that doesn't mean you gotta freak out...

~Right! If we give it a chance, maybe we'll have fun!~

"Boscha, are you alright?"

The three-eyed witch snapped back to reality, and saw Gwen sitting next to her, holding a tray of cookies.

"Oh, uh, yeah, I-I'm fine," Boscha waved her hand. "Nothing to worry about."

~Except for everything, obviously.~

"Well, okay then," Gwen put the tray on the table. "Feel free to grab a cookie."

~Don't mind if I do!~

Boscha helped herself to one of the cookies... and felt an incredible bliss as soon as she took a bite.

"This is incredible!"

"I'm glad you like it," Gwen said with a smile and a blush. "I baked them myself."

"No way, really?!"

Gwen nodded. "Grab another one if you'd like."

"Well, don't mind me-!"

What makes you think you deserve to have more than anybody else here!?

Boscha paused upon hearing that statement in her head, and after thinking about it for a moment, she pulled her hand away.

"A-Actually, I don't wanna get greedy. L-Let everybody else have a taste-"

"I already gave them."

Boscha flinched. "Huh?"

"Yeah, I made cookies for everybody."

Boscha scanned her surroundings, and saw every table had a tray of cookies, which the princesses and Chris were eating with delight.

~Well, that's... convenient.~

~Too convenient...~

Then she turned back to Gwen, who gestured her to take another cookie. And with great hesitation, she did.

"Boscha, you don't need to hide anything here: if something's bothering you, you can tell us."

Who'd ever want to listen to your problems when everybody else has it worse than you!?

Boscha shook her head. "N-No, nothing's wrong. I can handle a little tea party."

"Are you sure about that?" Gwen frowned. "Because you seem to be a bit... concerned for something."

"D-Don't be ridiculous, I'm an Apex-"

You might've an Apex or whatever where you come from, but in here, you're NOTHING!

Boscha paused and flinched, taking a moment to rub her forehead as tears began to form on the corner of her eyes.

"Boscha, are you... crying?!"

~No, I'm sweating through my eyes-what do you think I'm doing!?!?~

"N-No, I'm fine..." Boscha shivered as she slowly raised her head. "I'm fine, really-"

But once she looked up, instead of seeing Gwen looking worried at her, she saw Amity standing nearby, sporting a stunning expression of disgust. One that shocked Boscha to the core...

~So, she finally shows herself... even in another world, far away from you, you just can't resist the chance to hurt us again, can you!?~

And then the shock turned to rage...

~Well, never again! Never again! NEVER AGAIN?~


Willow and Skara sat on the steps of the former's house, dusting themselves to remove every little remaining bit of the Mandragora they just killed.

"So..." Willow sighed. "We're never talking about this again, are we?"

Skara covered her face with her hands. "I was swallowed whole and about to be digested by Mandragora guts."

"Yeah, you make a good point," Willow scratched the back of her head. "We should keep this to ourselves."

"It's a giant, walking tree!" Skara exclaimed, tears forming at the edge of her eyes. "What business does it have having a digestive system!?"

"Skara, I'd really rather talk about anything else right now."

Skara pouted, taking a deep breath before she replied:

"Fine then, how's this for anything else: did you and Amity used to be friends?"

Willow flinched, flashing a little blush as she hastily looked elsewhere.

"Y-You could say that."

Skara snickered and faced away from Willow. "I see. Everything makes sense now."

Willow raised an eyebrow. "What... do you mean by that?"

"It was obvious. So damn obvious," Skara rested her cheek on her palm. "And yet it took me this long to connect the stupid dots."

"S-Skara, you're scaring me, what are you talking about?"

Skara learned back and looked at the sky.

"Amity, Boscha, and I were never really friends. Our parents forced us to become friends in order to strengthen their alliance."

"Y-Yeah, I've heard about that," Willow clasped her hands and twiddled her thumbs. "Amity explained everything to me, after she and Luz checked my memories, of course. Long story."

Skara raised a stunned eyebrow, but her shock was quickly replaced with amusement. "Took her long enough."

"Yeah, I agree," Willow smiled. "Anyway, once she told me that, we've begun taking steps to try mend our friendship."

"That's good to know," Skara put her arms behind her head. "Maybe once you manage to fix the bridge, Amity can cross it and leave me and Boscha behind."

Willow's smile gained a hint of concern. "Uh... what?"

"It would be the best for everyone," Skara looked away, forcing a smile. "Maybe then she'd stop putting us through the wringer."

"... Skara, is there something you want to tell me?"

"Whether I have something to say isn't the question," Skara frowned. "It's whether anybody would ever listen."

Willow frowned. "I would listen-"

"We both know that's a lie... but, then again, when will I ever get the chance to get this off my chest?"

Willow took a deep breath, and listened carefully:

"Amity was never happy with us. There was always something about her that made her seem upset. And no matter how hard we tried, she'd never join us in anything. She'd just ignore us at best, snap at us at worst."

Skara began shivering, tears forming at the corners of her eyes as she kept talking:

"A-And she never even t-t-tried! Boscha tried. I tried. W-We tried to make this w-w-work... but she didn't. She... she h-hated us, all the way through... she never wanted us..."

Skara faced Willow, her voice cracking with a simple statement:

"She wanted you."

Willow leaned back a bit, utterly stunned at the answer. Sadly, however, she got little time to analyze it before Skara continued:

"She wanted you by her side. She wanted you to play with. She wanted us to go away so she could go back to being your friend... so she never tried to hide her disdain for us..."

Skara sniffed, her shivering growing more volatile as she looked elsewhere, and reached for her throat.

"It didn't matter what we did. It didn't matter what our parents did. Amity only ever wanted to be your friend again... and when that couldn't be done, she took it out on us!"

Willow winced, finally speaking after spending a long time silent: "W-Wait, she took it out on you?! How?!"

"Her anger... her resentment... her disgust... she assaulted us with all of that, and she walked away from it!" Skara grabbed and began pulling her hair. "She used us for her own personal catharsis, and she got away with it! She treated us like garbage, AND SHE! GOT! AWAY! WITH IT!"

Pulling so hard she actually ripped some of her hair off, Skara took several deep breaths before looking down... and collapsing on the floor, bawling her eyes out.

"It's just so unfair! None of us wanted to be friends, so why is she the only one people sympathize with?! We all treated people harshly, so why is she the only one to get a second chance?! AMITY BROKE BOSCHA INTO THE JACKASS SHE IS RIGHT NOW, SO WHY DO PEOPLE ACT LIKE SHE'S IN THE RIGHT?!"

At that exclamation, the atmosphere suddenly froze, both girls wincing as they processed what Skara had just said.

"Wait... Skara..." Willow's eyes widened. "What did you just say?"

"... Too much," Skara pinched the bridge of her nose and shook her head. "I said too damn much!"

"I mean, I guess, b-but-"

Skara stood up, grabbing her wand-flute, and ran away as fast as she could.

"Skara?"

Willow's words failed to reach the fleeting bard, and as form vanished into the horizon, Willow was left behind, a single question coming out of her mouth:

"What did... Amity do?"


"EVERYBODY STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!"

Boscha was the one to make the statement, a pair of fireballs on her shivering hands while she, Phos, Chris, and the Cursed Princess Club were surrounded by a ring of fire.

"If anybody takes even a single step, I'm gonna burn this entire damn place to the ground!" Boscha hissed, her fireballs intensifying as she added, "I'll burn this whole world down if it means getting rid of your disgusting lies once and for all!"

~That's right! We will kill the world before it can kill us!~

"L-Lies?" Monika, a bespectacled princess, stammered. "W-What lies?"

"Don't act like a dumbass! You know what I'm talking about!" Boscha gritted her teeth, tears forming at the corner of her eyes. "Your hollow words! Your empty friendliness! None of it is genuine! It's fake! It's all fake! This is all just a trick to get me to lower my guard!"

~Although, it really did feel genuone-~

~Nothing is genuine! Nothing is real! The only truth of the world is it's kill or be killed! AND WE WON'T BE KILLED AGAIN!~

"For crying out loud, Boscha," Phos sighed wearily. "Can't we go one Car without you setting things on fire?! I mean, I get you're angry, but is the ring really necessary?!"

~It's my thing! Leave me alone!~

"Shut up! You wouldn't understand! You can't understand!" Boscha yelled, glaring at Phos while shedding tears. "Within the ring, nobody can ignore me! Nobody can lie to me! And if they try, I'll just engulf them in my flames!"

~They can't hurt us if we extinguish them!~

"Boscha, please, this needs to stop!" Calpernia exclaimed, taking a step forward. "We're in the middle of the forest! If the fire spreads-!"

"Didn't you listen to me!? I don't care if the fire spreads! I don't care if this entire world is set on fire!" Boscha snapped, her voice growing shaky as she aimed her fireballs at the princesses. "I'll do whatever it takes to shut you and your lying mouths once and for all!"

"B-Boscha, please, calm down!" Gwen asked fearfully. "A-At least tell us, what are we lying about?!"

~Nothing... at least, that's what I wanna say-~

"Everything! Your kindness! Your friendliness! Your politenessEverything about you is a lie!"

"Hey, that's not true at all! Everything was genuine!" Syrah, another princess, pointed at her nose. "See? If everything we said was a lie, my nose would be as long as I'm tall-"

~Where did you come from!? But most importantly...~

"DON'T CHANGE THE SUBJECT!"

Boscha threw the fireballs to the ground, and as the ring grew bigger, the fireballs mixed together and grew, transforming into a giant, flaming lion that roared at the club.

"Okay, even I didn't see that coming," Chris frowned.

"If you won't stop spitting out lies," Boscha's eyes glowed red and her hair began to turn golden. "I'll just have to kill you all! Dead men tell no lies, after all!"

The fire lion opened its mouth and charged a blast, but stopped when Chris and Phos got in the way.

~These weaklings again!?~

"Step aside!" Boscha demanded. "This has nothing to do with you!"

"Sorry, Boscha, but we're not moving!" Phos responded. "It's one thing to be angry, but it's another to throw a fit and murder people!"

"They aren't people! They're just a bunch of sentient, walking bag of lies who'd rather shower me with false affection than try be honest with me!"

"False affection?!" Gwen gasped. "Boscha, our affection isn't false! We really do like you! Or at least, we want to be your friends!"

~... Friends? You wanna be... friends?~

Boscha flinched for a moment, but just as quickly began ruffling her hair, pulling it as the flames began growing wilder.

~You really think I'd fall for that trick!?~

"No! You don't! None of you do! Nobody does! I can't be loved! I can't be liked! I can't even enjoy people's company! The only thing people feel towards me is hatred! Disgust! Animosity! Fear-!"

"Boscha."

Suddenly, the three-eyed witch saw the club president crouching in front of her, the woman staring down at her while the flames surrounding them began glitching.

Then, she put a hand on Boscha's shoulder, causing her to flinch and the fire lion to dissipate into nothing as she asked:

"Who hurt you?"

Boscha stood stupified in place, her hair and eyes turning back to their natural colors as the flames surrounding the club slowly but surely vanished.

"As you ranted, you sounded very desperate, like those thoughts had been planted inside your head by someone else."

~...It was planted by something...~

That actually got a reaction out of Boscha... which was to narrow her eyes and slap Calpernia's hand away.

~And it's called survival!~

"Don't look down on me! I'm an Apex! A being above everything: Pain, laws, suffering-!"

~Taking a moment to actually calm down...~

Calpernia quickly covered Boscha's mouth with her hand, and once she did, she explained:

"This is what we're gonna do. I'm gonna take my hand off your mouth. I'm gonna ask you again. And you're going to give me a simple answer: just a name will be fine. Okay?"

Boscha nodded, and Calpernia removed her hand soon after.

"Okay, now tell me, Boscha... who hurt you?"

~Amity.~

The three-eyed witch lowered her head, playing with her hair as she avoided eye contact.

~Amity!~

"Boscha, we can't help you if you don't tell us what's going on. So, please, tell us... who hurt you?"

~Why can't I say Amity?!~

Boscha paused... then said something far too quiet for anybody to hear.

Calpernia raised an eyebrow and leaned closer... right into Boscha's trap.

The witch snatched Calpernia's tiara and pushed the woman away, before breaking the tiara in two and edging one of the sharper ends towards her neck.

~If you can't kill the world, then kill yourself! Just like mother said!~

Fortunately, it never connected: Calpernia extended her hand forward and released a string of web, wrapping and keeping Boscha's hands in place long enough for Moniko to fly in and steal the tiara back.

"That damn bird!"

~Thank you!~

Next thing Boscha knew, her wrists and ankles had been covered in web, allowing Phos to grab and restrain her.

"Thanks, Monika," Calpernia said as she grabbed her tiara. "Gwen! You and the girls get some rope and a chair! We can't let Boscha end her life like this!"

~So not only are you liars, but you're also sadists!?~

"Yes you can!" Boscha yelled, trying to break free from Phos' grasp. "You just don't want to 'cause you're not done poking fun at me!"

"Boscha, nobody here's mocking you-"

"Lies! Everything you say is lies! Everybody fears and loathes me! So much so that I bet they're celebrating the fact I'm gone back in my world! And this Train is just the same; filled to the brim with people who mask they true intentions behind smiles! The only thing I'll ever have in life is pain and misery, so why won't you let me end it once and for all!?"

It was then Phos pinched Boscha's neck, rendering the girl unconscious.

"Huh, that Vulcan guy wasn't lying when he said this would work," they remarked. "However, we should probably get the rope and chair now; this tactic doesn't work forever."

The princesses nodded and went to get the stuff, while Calpernia joined Chris and Phos as they lifted the girl.

"I'm really sorry that things went so far south," Chris sighed. "I guess I should've used my future sight a bit more thoroughly."

"It's okay, everybody makes mistakes," Calpernia sighed. "Besides, there's a much more pressing question to ask."

Phos raised an eyebrow. "And that is?"

Calpernia looked down at the unconscious witch, sympathy visible in her eyes as she asked:

"What happened that brought her to this point?"


Amity opened the door to her house, carrying the bouquet Luz brought her, only to drop it once she and the human girl saw the utter mess inside: the furniture was broken and all over the place, the lights flickered rapidly and at random, and several shards laid on the ground.

"What happened here?!" Luz asked, looking at the mess in disbelief.

Amity ran inside and exclaimed:

"Mom! Dad! Edric! Emira! Anybody!"

No response.

Luz took a couple steps forward... and stepped on something.

A letter.

"Amity, come look at this!"

The dyed greenette ran to Luz's side as the human side... and when they read the letter's content, they were absolutely shook:

A cordial greeting, Amity Blight. It has been so long since we spoke with you or your parents.

Sorry for the mess we left behind. Your parents forced my wife's hand. Or, claws, I should say.

If you wish to see them, come to the Urodela Mansion, in the Boiling Underworld.

I do believe this is something every Blight should be present to witness.

With high expectations, Prometheus Urodela.

Chapter Text

Okay, here we have Chapter 7. And let me be very blunt: the whiplash is strong on this one, so buckle up, 'kay?

In case anybody's wondering, yes, there's an alternate version of Chloe Cerise from Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail in this story. However, this doesn't mean you need to read the original story to know what she's up to: her background is only going to be subtly references or dropped hints about: besides, one way or another, this Chloe is a different character altogether.

And to those wondering about Boscha's father, yes, he's named after the Prometheus of Greek Mythology, who stole fire from the gods in order to give it to mankind. Boscha's mother is also named after a mythological figure.

Finally, as a little reminder, this story has a Tv Tropes page. And I'd appreciate it if people could add to it, since I get the feeling this story's overdosed on tropes despite only being seven chapters long XD

Also, if you're wondering where Skara's Palisman went, it's back at home: I'll try to focus on it eventually, but for now, there's more pressing matters to attend to.

And that's it from me. Let's go ahead into this rollercoaster of a chapter.

P.S.: there's a little surprise at the end of this chapter for certain fans. ;)

~Normal Inner Boscha~

~Apex Inner Boscha~


*BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!*

"Ugh, who could it be at this hour?" Lilith pondered as she walked to the door, before stopping at the sight of a napping King. "And why aren't you answering the door?"

"I'm nowhere near tall enough to do it," King snored. "Also I don't want to..."

Lilith groaned in disgust and opened the door, only catching a glimpse of Amity and Luz before they bolted inside.

"HithereLilithdon'tminduswearelookingforEda!"

Lilith raised an eyebrow, then shrugged and closed the door.

As for Eda, she was trying to write down a glyph when Amity and Luz barged into her room.

"Eda, we need your help!" the duo shouted in unison.

The Owl Lady paused her doodling and faced the children. "Okay, what exactly do you need?"

Amity hastily checked her pockets and took out the letter, which Eda snatched soon after.

Her eyes widening once she read it did nothing to ease Amity and Luz's worries.

"Yup, I can recognize the letter," Eda stated. "This was written by the ruler of the Boiling Underworld himself, Prometheus Urodela."

Amity put her hands on her cheeks. "Then this is even more serious than I thought!"

Luz glanced at Amity with sympathy before she faced the Owl Lady.

"You know who this guy is, Eda?"

"Oh yeah, the iron fisted ruler of the Boiling Underworld, for starters," Eda smiled. "Don't get the wrong idea, though, he's actually a pretty cool guy. Kind of a sore loser, though."

"And the Boiling Underworld..." Luz gulped. "What is it, exactly?"

"You want me to be honest, kid?"

Luz hesitated, but ultimately nodded.

"Well, imagine the Boiling Isles, but twenty times more brutal. And with an even more rigid caste system," Eda shrugged. "Then again, what else would you expect from the stomach of the Titan?"

"The stomach of the Titan?!" Luz repeated in disbelief. "But I thought the Boiling Isles were made out of the Titan's hollowed out body!"

"Legend says that the Titan had multiple stomachs, and one of them survive their decomposition."

The group turned around, and found Lilith standing nearby, arms folded with a stern expression.

"However, how the Boiling Underworld is even a thing isn't important. The important thing is that the place is so brutal, so menacing, and so dangerous, that going over there unprepared is practically suicide. Most witches are explicitly forbidden from even thinking about going there, too."

Amity narrowed her eyes. "We were wondering if Eda would be willing to come with us so we could save my parents."

"And I will admit, Edalyn would probably be a good option to venture there... before I split the Owl curse between us," Lilith responded. "However, with the curse split, Edalyn can't even use conventional magic anymore: she has to rely on those chicken scratches she makes."

Eda looked at her pen, which was the foot of what was probably from the Boiling Isles equivalent of a chicken, then threw it before searching for an actual pen on her hair.

"Besides, we also have to consider the context," Lilith added. "Prometheus doesn't do things for no reason; if he really did kidnap your parents, then they either angered him in some way, shape or form, or they're being used as bait."

Luz's eyes widened. "Meaning this could all just be a trap..."

"We can't take the risk of leaving them, though!" Amity ruffled her hair. "Who knows the kind of horrors that psychopath's going to unleash upon them if we don't do something!"

"Hey, I just told you he's a pretty cool guy!" Eda chided.

"Yeah, but he also happens to be the father of Boscha!" Amity snapped. "With how much of a madwoman she is, her parents have got to be even worse!"

"Well, if you're so inclined to head there no matter what-"

"I am!"

"Then there's still one more issue we gotta deal with: the Boiling Underworld is a place that's very easy to get lost in, so we're gonna need somebody who knows their way around the place."

Eda took a deep breath. "I think I know someone who could help us..."

Everybody looked at Eda with raised eyebrows...


And next thing they knew, they stood at the entrance to Warden Wrath's house, which Eda hesitantly knocked for a bit.

And once the warden opened the door, he looked like he was about to scream in delight before the Owl Lady stated:

"We're planning to go to the Boiling Underworld, and we need you to guide us."

All happiness in Warden Wrath's masked face vanished, replaced with a sense of serious dread.

"Are... Are you serious?"

The group nodded, and the warden walked inside and lead them to the kitchen.

One very quick summary of what happened was given alongside tea, and once it was all said and done, the warden took a weary breath.

"I see... I guess I should've seen this coming," the warden morphed his hand into a mouth to sip his tea. "The Blights and the Urodelas... they never really got along after that dreadful tea party... but that's a story for another day: you realize this could very well just be a trick to get Amity to come to the Boiling Underworld, right?"

"Yeah, I know, but I can't leave my parents behind in the off chance that they were actually kidnapped!" Amity scratched her cheek. "And it's not just my parents: my brother and sister were nowhere to be seen at the mansion, too, so they probably got kidnapped as well!"

"Hmm, well, I can take you to the Urodela Mansion no problem," Warden Wrath sighed, finishing his tea before standing up. "The issue would be staying undercover, and even leaving the mansion should things go south."

Luz frowned. "Why?"

"Elementary, my dear human..." Warden Wrath lowered her head. "Nobody gets away with angering the Urodelas."

The atmosphere grew tense as everybody took a moment to process what this meant...

And then the warden strolled off:

"Now, just let me take care of one more thing and I'll let you know when we can go!"

And as soon as he left, an awkward silence filled the room...

"Eda," Luz blurted. "If the warden's a native of the Boiling Underworld, how much crazier are the other natives?"

Eda sipped her drink. "Trust me kid, you gotta see the other natives to know."


When Boscha recovered consciousness, the first thing she tried to do was move her hands... only to find out she couldn't move them.

A quick look behind her revealed why: her arms had been tied to a chair, her ankles having been tied as well.

"What... the..."

~They're gonna kill us, aren't they?!~

"Oh good, you're awake."

The three-eyed witch winced and turned around, seeing not only Phos and Chris looking at her, but the CPC members staring at her with worried expressions.

~Remove those false worries from your faces this instant!~

Of course, just like before, her shock quickly turned into anger.

"What's the meaning of this!?"

"Well, how do we put this nicely?" Chris sighed. "The tea party... kinda was a bust-"

"Something happened that made you flip the heck out and threaten to kill everybody," Phos pointed out. "You even summoned a giant fire lion and tried to kill yourself to get your point across."

Chris pouted. "Geez, Phos, could you have been any more blunt about it?"

"Hey, this is Boscha we're talking about," Phos responded. "She hates small talk."

~I totally do.~

"Let's focus on what's important here," Calpernia stated as she went to the duo's side. "Boscha, are you feeling any better?"

The witch took a deep breath and unleashed a stream of fire, causing the trio to jump back.

"Yup, she's feeling better," Phos dryly stated. "Get a bucket of water ready just in case, she can't cast her fire if she's too wet."

~First you get in my way and then you tell our enemies my weakness!? Phos, you suck!~

~Phos, you're the best!~

"Why the hell did you deny me my death!?" Boscha yelled. "If I'm not an Apex, then I'm nothing! And if I'm nothing, I'm better off dead!"

"My word, Boscha's damage must be worse than I imagined," Calpernia remarked, putting a hand on her cheek. "Boscha, I don't know what happened that gave you this mentality, and for the sake of the place not burning I won't ask again... but, Boscha, that's not true-"

"Yes! Yes it is!" Boscha snapped back. "Look, I don't expect you to understand, but where I come from, being "Nothing" is the worst thing imaginable!"

"Huh, now that you mention it," Phos scratched his chin. "We don't really know anything about where you come from, Boscha."

The witch snickered. "You say that like it's a bad thing."

"Well, given what you just did, and your general attitude," Chris frowned. "I think it's about time you told us a bit about it."

"Tsk, yeah right, why would I tell you anything about where I come from?" Boscha narrowed her eyes. "Do you really want to hurt me so much you'd try to get some info out of me?"

~Oh who am I kidding? At this point, you pretty much already are!~

"Nobody here wants to hurt you, Boscha," Gwen said. "We just want to help you-"

"Yeah, right, sure you do," Boscha squinted her eyes. "I know the kind of game you're playing: you just want me to lower my guard so you can find another way to permanently hurt me. Well, jokes on you! I'm not someone who lets her guard down that easily!"

~Not anymore...~

Phos sighed. "Boscha, do you really believe the entire world's against you?"

"I know the entire world's against me, and for good reason."

"And what's the reason?"

~Huh?~

Boscha blinked twice. "Come again?"

"What's the reason that proves the entire world's against you?" Phos folded their arms. "And I'm not asking about the Train in particular: I mean, what good reason does your homeworld have to be against you?"

~Isn't it obvious? It's... I-It's...~

Boscha fell silent, looking around the room with a perplexed, worried expression as she mumbled:

"T-They have a good reason. They all have it."

"Boscha we're not asking you if they have a good reason," Calpernia stated. "We're asking you what's the reason."

"T-Their reason..." Boscha blinked twice and shook her face. "I-It's a good reason-"

"Okay, I checked the future, and we're not getting anywhere," Chris sighed, shaking his head. "So, Boscha, for the last time: tell us, what's the reason-"

"I DON'T KNOW THE REASON, OKAY!? I JUST KNOW THAT THEY HATE ME, AND THEY WOULDN'T HATE ME FOR NO REASON! NOW STOP HARASSING ME WITH THESE QUESTIONS, YOU ASSHOLES!"

Boscha began freaking out on her chair... until it tipped over and fell backwards. Boscha tried to stand up again, with little success.

"HELP ME, YOU ASSHOLES!"

Phos and Calpernia went to Boscha's side and helped her stand up, the witch muttering "thanks" before catching her breath.

"Okay, so, asking you who hurt you won't work, and asking why you're hated isn't gonna lead us anywhere..." Calpernia snapped her fingers. "In that case, how about we focus on developing a friendly bond between us instead? Is there anything you like back in your world that we could do here?"

~That sounds good.~

~That sounds like a trap.~

"I mean, there's Grudgby, but that's a bit... intense," Boscha looked elsewhere. "So, I guess not."

It was then that one of the princesses chimed in: "Your uniform had a particular color for the undersuit: does that mean anything?"

Boscha rolled her eyes. "Hexside has specific uniforms for their specific tracks. Mine, the yellow one, happens to be the uniform for the Potions track."

Calpernia smiled. "So, you like potions?"

Boscha stared at the princess for a while, then avoided eye contact. "Maybe."

"Then, you wouldn't mind to join us in experimenting with potion brewing?"

~I do miss brewing potions...~

"... Perhaps, but I need to be able to use my hands to do it."

Calpernia took a deep breath. "Alright, I'll release you, if you promise to stay calm and to not blow up on us again."

Boscha gritted her teeth. "Just don't throw another stupid tea party and it's a deal."

Calpernia glanced at her fellow princesses, who nodded in agreement, and Calpernia promptly walked to Boscha and untied her hands and legs.

Once that was done, she extended her hand forward...

And Boscha took a deep breath and shook it.


Across the meaty, visceral location that was the Boiling Underworld, the group walked towards a giant mansion connected to a spine, wearing shackles and chains to give the impression they were arrested.

"Okay, we're about to get there," Warden Wrath said. "Any questions before we reach the mansion?"

"I have a question," Amity glared at the cloaked figure. "What's Skara doing here?"

The cloaked Bard student returned the glare, and with her face mostly obscured by her cloak, the resulting expression turned to be much more menacing than Amity expected.

"That's simple, really," Warden Wrath spoke. "My sweet daughter is one of the few people the Urodelas don't hate or disapprove with a burning passion."

At that moment, Amity spotted Skara flashing a cocky smile, as if to say that yes, the very girl Amity saw as bad as Boscha was now one of her only hopes of escaping the place alive.

Especially when they arrived at the building and saw something horrifying: a group of spears planted on the grass... with skulls right on top.

"Is that... a-a-a-a garden of p-p-piked heads?"

"It's called the garden of sinners," Lilith answered, looking just as disturbed as everybody else. "The heads are of Underworlders who pissed off the monarchs one time too many."

"Welp, sorry to tell you this, kid," Eda whispered to Amity. "But your parents are probably as good as dead."

Amity audibly gulped, too terrified at the sight to scan and verify if her parents' heads were among the pikes.

Warden Wrath walked to the door, and knocked twice before it was opened by a fellow man with a witch doctor mask, wearing a cloak that covered his whole body.

"Ah, Wrath, what a delightful surprise to see you visit!" the man chirped. "What brings you to my humble abode today?"

"Good evening, Prometheus," Warden Wrath said before pointing at his prisoners. "I have brought you some prisoners to decide their strength."

"Interesting, interesting," Prometheus scanned the group. "Unfortunately, I'm really only interested in Amity and the human girl. I heard one of them actually hurt "Emperor" Belos? I'd like to meet her."

Skara, Amity, and Luz grimaced, but Eda quickly interfered.

"Sorry, Prometheus, but the kids are VIPs: you can't just meet them because you want to!"

Eda narrowed her eyes. "If you wanna meet them, you gotta earn it!"

"Ah, Eda, I missed your games for so long," Prometheus sighed before drawing a circle, a triangle appearing inside it before burning away the shackles that kept the group imprisoned. "That sounds good to me, but there might be an issue."

Lilith raised an eyebrow. "An issue?"

"Yeah, see, it's lunch time, and my wife was really hoping Amity could join us," Prometheus shrugged and put his arms behind his back. "I do believe she got our invitation, did she not?"

"M-My house was trashed!" Amity snapped. "My parents and siblings were nowhere to be found!"

"My wife challenged your mother to a duel, and when she lost, your family came here for lunch," the masked man shook his head. "Honestly, it's such an obvious rule of etiquette, I'm surprised you didn't get it, Amity."

Amity gritted her teeth and growled, but she calmed down once Skara put a hand on her shoulder and shook her head.

"So, Amity's parents are here for lunch, right?" Luz asked with a smile. "Then we'll go join them!"

"Why am I not surprised you'd say that?" Prometheus chuckled. "But of course, we still need The Owl Lady's opinion."

Eda sighed. "I guess I'm fine with it... so long as the kids don't get hurt."

"Whether they get hurt or not is up to them," Prometheus shrugged. "After all, unlike the people from above, we Urodelas only ever strike when provoked."

Amity had to hold back her chuckle. The last thing she needed was to prove this mad man right.

So, with everything settled, the trio of Amity, Luz, and Skara followed Prometheus to the dining room, while the Clawthorne sisters and Warden Wrath waited at the living room.

"Now, I want you to know one thing: this place might seem like hell itself, but really, its not that different from the Boiling Isles," Prometheus said, waving his hand as he added. "Just mind your own business, don't step out of line, don't provoke my wife, and you'll come out of here alive. Probably."

Amity was quick to shake her head as soon as Luz turned to her. And amazingly, Skara actually shook her head in agreement with her.

As if this place needed to be even more terrifying...

"Alright, here we are."

The trio walked into the dining room, and Prometheus promptly left, closing the door as the girls quickly scanned the place: a fancy, spacious room with pictures of what were probably ancestors of the Urodela family, with a long dining table in the middle... where Amity's family sat down, plates of untouched food in front of them.

"Mittens?!" Emira, Amity's sister, exclaimed. "What are you doing here?!"

"I could ask you the same thing!" Amity stated as the trio ran to the table. "What are you doing here?!"

"Um, Prometheus just told us: your and Boscha's mothers fought, and when she lost, everybody came here," Skara explained dryly. "Seriously, Amity, were you not paying attention?"

"Save the sass for another day, Skara!" Amity snapped. "Now help me get my family out of here-!"

"But why, though?"

Everybody turned around, and to their shock, a woman walked into view, her long, messy red hair barely hiding her asymmetrical body: sporting pieces of normal flesh and what resembled the matter that Abominations were made out of covering several parts of it: even her face and neck.

"Lunch time's just starting!"

She drew a circle in the air, and next thing the trio knew, they were sitting at the table, three empty plates in front of them.

"And I prepared such an exquisite selection of food just for you!"

Drawing another circle, food appeared on their plates: a purple pudding for Amity, and a mix of cooked organs for Skara and Luz.

"Uh, M-Mrs. Urodela-"

"Call me Amirani!"

"R-Right, o-o-one question," Luz said, poking her food with a horrified expression. "Are these... a-actual organs from... d-d-d-dead people?"

"Of course! But don't worry, these are the organs from those who are either Weak or Nothing!" Amirani chirped nonchalantly. "After all, the Titan once said it himself: those who're not strong enough to live within him, are only useful to provide nutrients for those who are."

Luz looked at her food again, then pushed the plate away with a look of disgust.

"Right, how insensitive of me, I forgot you're a human," Amirani took a deep breath and stood up. "Don't worry, I just so happen to have a cooking book from the human world. I'm sure I can prepare something you'll find edible."

"And what about us?!" Amity whined.

"Deal with it," Skara bluntly responded.

"Haha, couldn't have said it better myself! Be back in a minute!"

And with that, the mysterious woman walked out of the dining room, giving the Blights and co. a rare moment of relief.

"What were you thinking, Amity?!" Odalia, Amity's mother, snapped at her daughter, just quietly enough to not be heard. "Why would You fall for such an obvious trap!?"

"I'm sorry, but what else was she supposed to do!?" Luz snapped, getting right next to Amity's side. "Your house was trashed! You were nowhere to be found! And the letter this old guy left behind sounded like a threat rather than an invitation!"

"As much as I'd rather not defend Amity, I have to agree with Luz on this one," Skara sighed before taking a bite out of her food. "No matter which way you look at it, there really was no choice but to come here."

Edric, Amity's brother, was the next to speak, "How can you eat something so disgusting?!"

"Easy," Skara paused to slurp her pasta-like vein. "I like to imagine I'm eating one of you."

Everybody stared at Skara with complete and utter disbelief and fear.

"Gotcha, didn't I? Nah, I was born and raised in this hellhole. I never had the luxury to be picky here, nobody does, so you either eat what you're given or take one step closer to becoming food."

"But doesn't it bother you?" Luz asked. "I mean, for all intents and purposes, this is cannibalism."

"Good point, here's my counterargument: we're in the stomach of the Titan. You either go the extra length to stay healthy or you become food for the Titan."

"This place just keeps getting worse and worse by the minute," Amity sighed wearily. "We need to get out of here now."

"Well, I'm sorry to say this sweetie," Alador, Amity's father, sighed wearily. "But unless we comply and eat at least some of this... stuff, the only way we're getting out of here is in a body bag."

Amity gulped, and with a very, very quick mental preparation, she grabbed a spoon and took a bite out of her pudding...

And she didn't feel like throwing up.

"Hey, this... isn't too bad, actually," Amity took another bite. "It's actually quite good!"

Soon after, the rest of the Blight family and Luz began eating their food, ending pleasently surprised at the fact the food was actually edible.

"This is... unexpected."

"Why is it unexpected?" Amirani asked, walking back to the room while holding a plate of what looked like rice and fried chicken, which she handed Luz as she sat down. "I know very well that you're too weak to stomach a proper Boiling Underworld meal, so I gave you something you could actually eat."

Then, Amirani turned serious. "Besides, there's something I need to discuss with you. Right. Now."

Alador swallowed the bite he took before asking, "And that would be?"

"I'm gonna be blunt: a week ago, my daughter was suspended from Hexside. It bothered me, but I figured as soon as Boscha returned, we could spend more time making her stronger so it didn't happen again. However..."

Alador gulped. "Y-Yes?"

Amirani's expression soured. "Boscha never came home."

Amity choked on her food, while Luz dropped her fork and Skara exclaimed "WHAT?!" in total disbelief.

"You heard me right: Boscha, my sweet little Boscha, has been missing for over a week," Amirani lowered her head. "I soon set out to find her across the Boiling Isles, but alas, I failed."

"That's... very upsetting to hear, Amirani," Odalia sighed. "But what does that have to do with us?"

"There's only one witch in the Boiling Isles ballsy enough to face Boscha and live to tell the tale: that being Amity."

"But I didn't do anything to Boscha!" Amity exclaimed as soon as she finished her pudding. "If anything, she attacked me with-!"

Suddenly, Amirani appeared right next to Amity, holding her tongue out with one hand while holding a dagger in the other, startling everybody.

"Think before you speak, Amity. Otherwise, you may never get to speak again!"

And just as quickly as she finished her threat, an icicle emerged and struck Amirani in the eye, sending her sliding away from the Blight. Soon after, Luz ran to Amity and lifted her in a princess carry, the rest of the lunch guests running away as Amirani stood up and turned around...

Revealing her pierced eye slowly regenerating back to full health.

"You got guts, kid. Too bad I gotta rip them off now!"


Meanwhile, back at the Cursed Princess Club Car, Boscha, alongside Phos and Chris, read a book about potions while Calpernia spoke with the other club members.

~Love potion... sleep potion... mana potion...~

"Okay, everybody, since the tea party wasn't a success, we're gonna do something different today. Since Boscha appears to enjoy potion making, we're gonna brew some-"

"I'm done."

Calpernia flinched and turned to Boscha. "What?"

"I memorized every recipe in this book while you were doing your dumb little lecture," Boscha stated as she closed the book with a swipe. "Also, your menu of potions? Pales in comparison to what the Boiling Isles have."

~It's still really interesting, though!~

"Isn't comparing our world's and your world's potions a little unfair?" a guy with a ponytail asked.

"Isn't this supposed to be a club for cursed princesses?" Boscha spat back. "Like seriously, what's a guy doing here?"

"Despite the name, the CPC takes in all sorts of cursed royalty," Calpernia looked elsewhere. That and I couldn't think of a more marketable name.

"Fine, I guess I don't mind then," Boscha folded her arms. "So, what potion do we make first?"

"Well, since we're doing this to cheer you up," Gwen blurted, putting a hand on Boscha's shoulder. "Why don't you pick the potion, Boscha?"

~This must be another trick... it has to be!~

The witch narrowed her eyes. "What trick are you pulling this time?"

~Spill the beans, oddly-cute goblin princess!~

"I-I-I'm not pulling any tricks!" Gwen winced, waving her hand as she added, "I just thought it would be fair if you picked it."

~That makes sense.~

Boscha maintained the stern expression for a while, before she took a deep breath and flipped through the pages.

"In that case, I think we should do this one."

The club members took a quick look at the potion Boscha suggested, and they each flashed a smile before nodding in agreement.

So, the preparations for the potion brewing began: Boscha walked to a cauldron and she began setting up the liquid, with Gwen helping her as well.

"You're gonna keep going, aren't you?" Gwen asked as she turned on the fire. "In the Train, I mean."

~Well, I wouldn't mind coming back here...~

"Well, I don't really have a choice," Boscha smiled and revealed her number. "I can't leave until this thing reaches zero, and it isn't gonna go down on it's own."

"But it's such a big number..." the goblin-like princess spoke. "From what I've heard, four digit numbers tend to take at least a year to drop to zero. And your number's five digits long..."

"That's just more of a reason to start figuring out what's wrong with me," Boscha stated before turning to Calpernia. "That's how this dumb train works, right?"

Calpernia nodded, just as another princess chimed in:

"But a long journey means making a name for yourself! So shouldn't you give your team a proper name?"

~You mean I could've named my team all along?! Mind blown!~

"Yeah, you can't just walk around as "Boscha and her sidekicks" or something," Syrah added.

Boscha scoffed. "Why not? That name's awesome."

Phos and Chris looked at Boscha disapprovingly.

"I'm kidding! I'm kidding!" Boscha rolled her eyes and put a hand on her hip. "Geez, you guys really are no fun."

Phos turned to Chris. "Was she really joking?"

Chris quickly looked into the future, and shook himself. "Nope."

"Well, let's focus on something else: what would you call your team?" Monika asked. "Maybe you could name it after a flower?"

"I wouldn't recommend it," Saffron remarked, shaking his head. "My father once tried to name our three strongest knights "The Red Lotus Trio". The very next day, they were exiled due to a copyright strike."

"Good lord, exile for copyright infringement?" Aurelia asked incredulously. "What's next? Gwen accidentally forcing us to come to her kingdom?"

Gwen ignored the comment and opened a book to Boscha. "This book has a few gems, I hear they're good for name ideas."

"Hmm, I guess naming our team after a gem would be good," Boscha eyed Phos. "I mean, we do have a sentient gem as a member, though, so I don't know what they think."

"So long as it's not any gem I know, it's fine," Phos said as they took a closer look at the book. "Hey, maybe this one could work?"

Boscha looked down at the book, and saw the stone Phos was talking about: Pyromorphite. A stone of victory, achievement, and accumulating power. At least, that's what the book said about it.

"I don't know about you," Phos flashed a sneaky smile. "But that gem sounds a lot like a certain someone I know."

~D'aw, Phos, you'll make me blush!~

~Tread carefully, Phos...~

"Hmm, it's a good choice," Boscha flipped the page. "But I edge more towards this one."

The gem Boscha pointed at turned out to be Realgar: a cleansing crystal, that stimulated intelligence, self acceptance, and self love. Again, going by what the book said.

"Huh, that's..." Phos hummed. "Not gonna lie, I never thought you'd pick something so profound."

"Profound? I just like it's alternate name," Boscha's eyes glimmered with triangle-shaped shines. "Ruby Sulphur!"

Phos took another look. "Okay, yeah, I agree, the name's rather good."

"Then it's settled!" Boscha closed the book with a smile. "From this day forward, we're gonna be known as the Ruby Sulphur Trio!"

Chris frowned. "Don't you wanna check more gems just to be sure?"

~Don't you wanna use your future vision to get your answer yourself?~

"Nope!"

"Well, okay then," Chris sighed wearily. "I know better than to engage in a pointless argument, so I'll shut up."

Boscha nodded, and kept smiling for a moment... until it slowly vanished, replaced by a forlorn frown by the time Gwen noticed.

"What's wrong, Boscha?"

"I wish my friend Skara was here. She always knew what to say to lighten up my mood," Boscha chuckled. "I bet upon hearing "Ruby Sulphur Trio" she'd say something quirky like-"


"RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!"

The trio and Blights ran past Prometheus' game with the Clawthornes and Warden Wrath, the latter throwing the board off before they joined the fleeting group.

"Aw, man," Prometheus sighed. "And I was just about to win."

"No, you weren't!" Eda scoffed in the distance.

Then Amirani ran in, one of her morphed into a war axe, screaming bloody murder until her husband said:

"Amirani, let them go."

"Wha-are you serious, Prometheus!?" the woman snapped. "Those jerks are the reason Boscha's missing! They gotta be!"

"Perhaps, but they also have the one who chipped Emperor Belos' mask with them," Prometheus shook his head. "And with the power of everybody else, even you wouldn't be able to beat them. Not without dying yet again."

Amirani flinched, and seeing reason in her husband's words, she morphed her hands back to normal, and sat down.

"It just pisses me off so much! Our daughter's missing and nobody's doing anything about it, not even the Blights!"

"Did Amity eat the Abomination pudding?"

"Yes, so?"

Prometheus clasped his fingers together and chuckled.

"Then she's going to help us pretty soon..."


"What do you mean Cars have been destroyed left and right?!"

The spherical robot in the screen, One-One, quickly explained:

"It appears that a very volatile passenger by the name of Boscha Urodela has been destroying Cars that tick her off. Which is often. Luckily, the Train can quickly rebuild them with no problem, but it's become a cause of concern for many Denizens and Passengers alike."

One-One's listener, a red-haired girl wearing a black dress with fireball-shaped symbols to the side and an apron, scratched her chin in thought.

"Boscha Urodela... Is this the same Boscha that drove the Apex to shambles?"

"Yup! That's her! She's currently at the Cursed Princess Club Car!" One-One chirped. "I know I'm already asking a lot out of you by getting rid of the remnants of the Apex, but could you also spare some time to stop her from destroying any more Cars?"

The girl reached for her side and brandished a pipe, or "donut holer" as it was called, and proclaimed:

"Don't worry, One-One, we'll put a stop to her. You can count on us!"

The robot bid farewell and the message ended, the girl's smile fading slightly as one of her companions, a small dog with a crown, spoke:

"Are you sure you know what we're up against, Chloe? Defeating the remnants was already tough, you really think we're ready to deal with this Lion of Cremation?"

"Not really... but we'll find a way," the redhead smiled and placed the donut holer over her shoulder. "Or else I'm not Chloe of the Vermillion."

Chapter Text

Happy April Fools Day!

What?... April Fools Day already passed?... Well, dang it. XD

Anyway, here's Chapter 8, the chapter where we discover the source of Boscha's lack of self-esteem.

And after this, we'll have a funny chapter with the Apex, I promise.

Also, just as a fair warning: if you didn't like Skara before, this chapter might not do you any favors. Or at least, it'll make it even harder to like her.

Now, for some trivia about things that ultimately didn't make the cut:

During the Cursed Princess Club Car, Boscha was supposed to use her psychometry power on one of the princesses, the guy who pointed out the copyright exile bit, to see what had happened. I ultimately couldn't implement it, however.

Lapis Lazuli was once going to accompany the Apex: Lucy would've found her still sentient shards, and took them back with her to work together on a plan to defeat Boscha. I ultimately didn't go through this because one, it would've made things much more complicated, and two, I don't think the Apex would want to work with someone who casually pissed off the same person that decimated them. Joining forces with them would be a death wish.

The Boiling Underworld was supposed to be expanded upon, with one notable feature being Golden, Boscha-shaped ghosts inhabitting the place, meant to represent the will of the Apex. Ultimately, I couldn't think of a way to implement them well enough, so I dropped them.

Also, the original "dinner" at the Urodelas would've been a legitimate hostage situation, with Amity strapped to a table and being experimented on while her family watched. I found this too cruel even by Urodela standards, so I cut it.

Skara was supposed to unlock her Palisman that chapter, protecting Amity from Amirani. I got a better idea for the Palisman, so I decided to shelve that thought.

The potion Boscha suggested to make with the CPC was gonna be a love potion, and the original team name would've been named after Pyromorphite. I ultimately decided to keep the potion ambiguous and the team name changed to Realgar's alternate name, since given Boscha's arc will involve self-reflection, it was much more fitting.

Also, Ruby Sulphur is the coolest name ever, and I'll fight anybody who disagrees with me! XD

I also wanted to write an April Fools story, where Gus went on the Train and that's why he hadn't appeared all this time. But ultimately, I scrapped the idea.

Also also, the Boiling Point tv tropes page has organized its character page, and Boscha has even gotten her own page there!

I know, the Main character, who has the most Focus, getting enough tropes to warrant their own page? That only happens once in a blue moon! XD

But I've blabbered long enough. Time to head into the de-facto most controversial chapter on this story yet!

P.S.: Yes, I totally planned this for April Fools Day. I was in no way thinking of making a Blossoming Trail spin off what-if where Yeardley got picked up by the Train instead.


"BALL!"

Chloe swung her donut holer, successfully hitting and sending a baseball over the field.

"Yes, homerun!" the redhead chirped. "At this rate, the Lion of Cremation won't know what hit her!" 

"Hey, Chloe, how do I look?"

Chloe turned around, and tried very hard to hold back a chuckle as she saw a small yellow corgi with pink eyes and a paper crown walk to her, waggling his tail before speaking with a serious, yet mocking tone:

"The Apex have a splinter group who have decided to turn over a new leaf!"

Chloe and the corgi began laughing out loud.

"It's funny 'cause there's no way it's true!" Chloe remarked, wiping a year off her eye. "Still, I suggest you start training before Atticus finds you slacking off, Lexi."

"I'm not slacking off! I'm totally training my abilities!" the corgi said. "I'm just having a little fun while doing it!"

"I think you're having a little too much fun."

Chloe and the corgi winced and turned around, seeing another Yellow corgi walk up to them, this one sporting an actual crown.

Lexi immediately shapeshifted into his humanoid form: a Blonde guy with Pink eyes and white clothing.

"We were just given one of the most important missions of our lives: stop a potentially unhinged Passenger from causing any more havoc across the Train," the corgi, Atticus, stated. "And yet here you are, playing games instead of training!"

"I'm totally training!" Lexi whined. "If I don't keep practicing my shapeshifting, I won't be able to switch forms in an instant, which could prove very dangerous!"

"And besides, I'm training too!" Chloe said before hitting another homerun. "I'm practicing my swinging so I can hit the Lion of Cremation with everything I got!"

"But you're not planning to depend on your donut holer, are you? Because this is the seventh one you've got," Atticus scratched his head. "You know, after losing to Dynamo, fighting back the dragon in the tower, rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser, launching Super Sonic against Perfect Chaos, fighting Sans-"

"Okay, alright, fine, I get it okay?" Chloe said, waving her hands. "Don't worry, I won't depend on my donut holer for the fight."

Chloe raised her free hand, which sported an archaic symbol on her palm.

"Not when I also got this little trinket."

"Hmm... well, once you're done here, start training your demon summoning," Atticus stated before turning to Lexi. "As for you, Lexi, you got more powers besides shapeshifting. Train those as well."

Lexi groaned and took out a pair of kunais. "Sure, whatever you say."

The corgi king nodded, and walked away with a smile, allowing Lexi and Chloe to continue their training.

"Ugh, he's so annoying sometimes! Just because he can't fight doesn't mean he gets to boss us around!"

"Calm down, Lexi, you have to admit he's right," Chloe replied, missing the ball for once. "This is one of the most important missions One-One has given us. We have to give it our all!"

"Tsk, that's easy for you to say," Lexi flashed a cocky smile at Chloe. "You're one of the strongest Passengers I know. I bet you could beat this Lion of Cremation with ease!"

"Hmph, well, I don't like to brag..." Chloe put her donut holer over her shoulder. "But I totally could."


Once back at the Owl House, after taking the Blights back home, the crew sat down and caught their breath, trying to calm themselves down after everything they saw at the Boiling Underworld.

"Oh. My. Titan." Lilith sighed, clutching her chest. "I don't know how you managed to survive venturing there, Edalyn!"

"Looking back at it, I don't know either!"

"And I thought the Boiling Isles was a harsh place to live in," Luz said. "I can only imagine how Boscha survived living there, but I feel like if I do imagine it, I'll never sleep again!"

"Boscha's an Urodela, the family that rules the Boiling Underworld," Skara pointed out while searching through a bookshelves. "It's a given that she'll have it better than everybody else."

"And you call what we saw better than the rest of the underworld!?" Eda exclaimed.

"Theoretically speaking, she's part of the socialites, thus meaning she has it better than most people," Skara narrowed her eyes. "Isn't that right, Amity?"

All eyes immediately fell on the greenette, sending a chill down her spine.

"S-Stop looking at me like that!"

"Amity, Boscha's parents seem to have a very big beef with your family," Luz spoke, walking to Amity's side as she added. "Is there something you're not telling us?"

"Is there something she's actually telling you?" Skara scoffed, circling through the books with a bored expression.

Amity shook her fist while shooting daggers at Skara, but a single look at Luz's worried eyes convinced her to calm down.

"Well, the truth isn't that much different from what you already know," Amity folded her arms and rolled her eyes. "My parents, Boscha's parents, and Warden Wrath all had the brilliant idea to try and get the three of us to become friends; forming an alliance of sorts."

"Yeah, that's the general gist of it," Lilith sighed. "But what we need to know, Amity, is the origin behind Prometheus' extreme hatred of you-"

"I was about to get to that point!" Amity snapped. "Though, I can't really tell you that much. Boscha and I got into a fight, we both said things we've come to regret, and we've hated each other's guts ever since."

Amity turned to Skara, who was reading a book at the couch.

"Got any snippy comment for that, Skara?!"

Skara briefly glanced at Amity, then went back to her book.

"Listen, kid, you can't just give us vague, bare bones details and leave it at that," Eda said before flashing a sneaky smile. "If you want us to leave you alone regarding this, give us the full, juicy details of your fallout with the Urodela kid."

Amity turned away from everybody. "It's just... I said things I've come to regret, things I never should've said-"

"Wha-really?! Color me stunned!" Skara dryly remarked, focusing solely on her book as she added, "How long did it take you to realize that, Amity, hmm?"

"You know, Skara, you're not making this any easier for me," Amity growled, glaring at Skara disapprovingly. "This is something I thought I'd never have to think about again, so the least you could do is try to help me get through this!"

Skara snapped the book shut, and with a furious glare, she got off the couch and faced Amity, hissing:

"Just like how you tried to "help" Boscha by giving her a piece of your mind!?"

Luz glanced at Skara, then turned back to Amity. "Is that the reason why the Urodelas have a beef with you?"

Amity avoided eye contact. "Boscha misunderstood what I said."

"Oh, right, Boscha's the one who made the mistake here!" Skara snarled. "Not you, the person who said those damn things in the first place!"

"Listen here-"

"Okay, everybody calm down; we just came out of the worst version of the Boiling Isles, the last thing we need is a fight," Eda stated, before gaining a cheeky smile. "What we do need, however, is to visit Amity's memories!"

"Huh?!"

"Yeah, like what we did with Willow!" Luz chirped. "That way, you don't have to tell us about what you told her: we'll just see it ourselves!"

"W-Wait, I'm not okay with this!"

"So, you're okay with entering and messing with Willow's memories, but you're firmly against people entering your memories," Skara recapped. "Wow, Amity, just wow."

"First of all, Willow gave us permission to see her memories, and she even got to see mine for a bit," Amity responded sternly, gaining a notable blush as she added, "Second of all, my mind's been a mess for a while now: I don't want you to stumble upon something that makes me look like a total loser!"

"But I already see you as a total loser," Skara snickered.

"And besides, we might be able to get some more context as to what happened between you three," Luz added. "After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a memory is worth a thousand pictures! That's how it went, right?"

Amity blushed a little, and looked elsewhere. "Do you promise not to look at any other memories laying around?"

Luz nodded. "I promise."

"I still don't think this is a good idea," Lilith remarked. "The mind is one of the most delicate parts of a witch's very being. If you're not careful, you could do some intense damage to it."

Amity looked away with regret, then shook it off.

"I'll be fine, Lilith. Don't worry."

The older Clawthorne sister took a deep breath and nodded, prompting everybody to get ready for a trip down memory lane.



In the middle of a rainy jungleforest-like Car, the Ruby Sulphur Trio walked around while scanning their surroundings.

"So, what's up with your third eye?"

There were many questions Boscha expected from Chris: no matter how many times she made it clear, the sentient crystal ball just wouldn't stop trying to make small talk with her.

However, this question legitimately caught her off-guard, prompting her to look at the crystal ball with a raised eyebrow.

"Sorry if that was insensitive," Chris replied. "But I really am curious: most passengers don't have a third eye on their forehead."

"Most passengers are human, too," Phos added. "So, what exactly are you, Boscha?"

"I'm what you would call a witch," Boscha shrugged. "As for my third eye... believe it or not, it's the least weirdest thing in the Boiling Isles. I mean, one of my Potion classmates has an entire eyeball for a face! Compared to that, my third eye's nothing!"

Chris paused for a moment, as if analyzing what he should say now. Until eventually, he spoke:

"Were you always this way, Boscha?"

The girl hummed in thought. "If you mean if I used to be nicer before I turned into the jackass I am... then nope! I've been a nasty piece of work ever since I crawled out of my mother's womb! And if that's a problem with you, you're free to leave me behind!"

Boscha turned around and kept walking.

"That is, in fact, the best thing anybody can do right now."

The three-eyed witch kept walking with her hands pocketed, and after exchanging worried looks, Chris and Phos followed her.

"Okay, but, were you born this way, or were you raised to act like this?" Phos inquired. "'Cause in my case, most Gems are born with a specific role, and we're taught all about it to perform it to the best of our abilities."

Boscha took a deep breath. "Truth be told, an Apex isn't born. It's made."

Phos smiled. "So, technically, you weren't born a sociopathic pyromaniac."

Boscha stomped the ground hard enough to crack it, startling her companions as she turned around and snapped:

"Fine, since you two idiots can't seem to get the hint, let me be blunt: yes, I wasn't born an Apex. I wasn't born the ultimate lifeform. And yes, I wasn't born the asshole you've walked with until now. But do you know why I refuse to admit it? Why I don't even bother to imply that there's more to me than that? Because nobody cares!"

"Nobody cares?" Chris frowned. "Boscha, what do you mean by-"

"Chris, imagine we're back at Mana Academy, and one of your students pisses me off. So, I do what anybody would do and burn her until she learns her place. Then you check what's going on, and I tell you what happened. Will you forgive me for what I did?"

"Well, I guess it depends on how bad the burns are-"

"No, Chris! The answer's no!" then she faced Phos. "And you! Imagine I brought you back to life, with Lapis' bust still in hand, and only afterwards do I shatter them and let you know how little they cared about you! Would you forgive me then!?"

Phos looked elsewhere. "I... guess not?"

"No, you wouldn't! Nobody would! Whenever someone does something bad for a reason, the first thing they do is seek forgiveness, assuming the guilt hasn't consumed them! And yet, it doesn't matter if the reason's good, or bad, or petty, or whatever!" Boscha sniffed, wiping off the tears before adding, "All people really care about is that you made a mistake and that you need to suffer in agony so others can feel better!"

Chris and Phos flinched as Boscha dropped to her knees. "Boscha?!"

"People don't care about reasons! They don't care about whether someone did something for a good cause! All they care about is if they did something bad, and how they can beat them up to make themselves feel better!"

Tears kept pouring down Boscha's cheeks, her voice growing shaky as she tried to wipe them away.

"Because the only way anybody grows in this life is through pain! The only way anybody learns is being put through the titandamned ringer so much that they'll do anything, say anything, just to avoid being put through there again! And-!"

Suddenly, Phos went to Boscha and hugged her, startling the three-eyed witch and Chris in the process.

"What... what are you doing, Phos?"

"I'm hugging you," Phos shrugged. "It's apparently the most effective way to calm someone down."

"Don't say something so stupid, Phos!" Boscha began pounding their back. "Let me go, right now!"

"Not until you feel better."

Boscha clenched her teeth and covered her fist in a fiery aura, slamming it against Phos' back repeatedly as she yelled:

"I said let me go! I brought you back to life and I can shatter you again, you worthless, pathetic, weak, hopeless excuse for a Gem!"

Phos' back cracked slightly, with some shards landing on Boscha's fist as the aura dissipated.

"I'll break you! I'll shatter you! I'll destroy you until there's nothing left! You'll be good as gone! Dead forever! I will kill your very existence!"

"Then so be it."

Boscha paused.

"If that's what it takes to calm you down, I'll accept it."

The three-eyed witch looked down at her bleeding hand, the shards melting back into Phos as she shivered.

Then, with what little strength she had left, Boscha returned the hug, speaking with a shaky voice:

"I'm sorry... I didn't mean to..."

"It's okay."

"No... no it's not..."

"It's okay."

"It's... not..."

Both entities fell silent, patting each other's back as Chris floated nearby, trying to figure out what to do next.

"Well, healing Boscha's hand should take priority. We could go back to Mana Academy to get her healed up."

Phos nodded, and carrying the witch in their hands, they joined Chris as they walked through a door back into the Mana Academy Car.



In the middle of a monochromatic realm with square-shaped entrances to... something, Luz and Skara materialized on top of a streetwalk in the middle of the void.

"Alright, here we are, Memory Lane," Luz stated as she looked around. "Now, I know it must be very tempting, being surrounded by hundreds of Amity's memories-"

"Luz, are you coming or not?"

The human girl flinched and looked around until she spotted Skara, waving her hand while standing at a few miles away from her.

Luz quickly caught up to her, and the two began walking down the Memory Lane, Skara ignoring the dozens of memories floating around.

"So, you're not even a little bit intrigued by what Amity's thoughts could have?"

Skara smirked. "I'm much more interested in seeing your reaction once you see your "girlfriend" isn't as good a person as you think she is."

It was then that Luz grabbed Skara's shoulder, and the two stopped and looked at each other.

"Skara, I know you and Amity don't get along. But I honestly think you should try let go off that grudge, if only for today."

Skara groaned in frustration, and gently removed Luz's hand.

"Fine, let's get this stupid trip done with. The memory should be around here somewhere..."

And so, the trip continued, at least until the duo took a break to look at a memory sealed with locks.

"What's up with this memory?" Luz pondered out loud.

"I've read that when a witch get traumatized, the memory related to said trauma is automatically sealed and locked deep inside their mind," Skara remarked, scratching her chin. "This is probably one of those types of memories."

"Can it be unsealed?"

"No, so let's ignore it and move on. If it's the memory I think it is, then we should be getting close to the one we're looking for."

And so, the duo kept walking down the ethereal location, Luz taking one last look at the locked memory before following Skara.

"So, Willow told me that Amity broke their friendship thanks to her parents. Is that true?"

"Yeah," Luz scratched her chin. "She said something about doing it on her birthday, to boot."

Skara sighed. "Well, you're about to find out what else she did."

Skara hopped into a memory, and Luz quickly followed, confused and intrigued by her words.

Soon after, the realm morphed, now resembling the familiar memory of Amity being blackmailed by her parents to end her friendship with Willow.

However, the memory continued after that: Amity's parents walked away, and their daughter was left alone, shedding tears and clenching her shaking fist, clearly furious about what was happening.

The memory morphed soon after, now taking place at the Blights' backyard. Amity's birthday party was already happening, as shown by the children dancing while wearing elegant dresses or suits.

This included Boscha and Skara, who danced together while surrounded by several partygoers... including an angry Amity.

"Huh, well, this isn't what I expected," Luz spoke while scanning her surroundings. "It's a lot more lively than I expected."

"Don't get used to it," Skara sighed. "It'll get ugly pretty soon."

"Hey, Amity Calamity!" the younger Boscha chirped. "Come join us!"

The younger Amity avoided eye contact. "I'm fine where I am."

Not content with the answer, the younger Boscha and Skara separated, and the latter took out a flute and began playing a melody.

In the blink of an eye, Amity began to shimmy towards Boscha, all while the witch had no idea what was going on.

And once she was right next to the pinkette, Boscha grabbed Amity's hand and waist, and began spinning her around while everybody cheered.

This continued for a while until they spun in place, then ended with Boscha and Amity face-to-face, the former holding the latter's back as she said:

"Are you having fun yet, Amity Calamity?"

Amity dropped Boscha to the ground, and with a furious expression, she growled:

"You. Me. Inside. Now."

Soon after, the memory restructured itself to resemble a fancy room inside the Blight Mansion: Boscha and Amity sat at opposite ends of the table, the former sipping her tea while the latter glared at her with disgust.

And as soon as Boscha put the teacup down, Luz had a feeling things were about to get intense.

"So, why did you call for a private meeting, Amity Calamity?"

"Don't call me that," Amity groaned. "Look, Boscha, there's something I need to tell you. And I want you to listen very closely."

"Tsk, fine, as long as you get to the point," Boscha folded her arms and crossed her legs, resting them on the table as she added, "I guess I can humor your request."

Amity glared at Boscha's feet before taking a sip of her tea. "Put your feet on the ground."

Boscha smirked. "Make me."

Amity's teacup trembled as her arm shook, but after she took a deep breath and waited for a moment, she calmed down... to Boscha's apparent disapproval.

"Boscha... your attitude... isn't something that's acceptable in the Boiling Isles."

"Yeah, Skara told me just as much, and I'm going to tell you the same thing I told her," Boscha shrugged and shook her head. "It's not my fault if the people of the Boiling Isles are a bunch of cowards who'd rather avoid conflict than get strong enough to handle it themselves."

The shivering returned, and even after Amity grabbed her arm, it kept shaking.

"Boscha... I mean it... you have to change your act, if you don't want to wind up dead-"

"Ha! Me? Wind up dead? That's assuming anybody in the Isles is brave enough to try, and is Strong enough to live to tell the tale!" Boscha haughtily scoffed. "Especially because of one simple fact: I'm an Apex. A being that stands above everybody else."

Boscha stood up and leaned closer, bopping Amity's nose as she added:

"Including you."

It was hard to tell how much tea was left in Amity's teacup after her constant shaking, but what little was left was spilled as the shaking turned even more violent, Amity baring her teeth as Boscha spoke with a look and tone of condescendence:

"Now, let's see if you're at least smart. Tell me, Amity... what am I?"

Luz felt compelled. She really did. But her first trip through memory lane with Amity made it clear how dangerous it was to tamper with someone's memories.

So, unfortunately, she had no choice but to watch as the scene played out.

"You... are..."

Boscha narrowed her eyes, her smile getting a hint of smug sadism.

"You are..."

"We don't have all day, Amity," Boscha pointed out. "So let me ask you again: what am I?"

"You... are... A NOBODY!"

With that, Amity grabbed Boscha's drink and threw the tea right at her face, the three-eyed witch wincing and screaming in pain as she took a step back and rubbed her eyes.

"You might've been an Apex or whatever back where you came from," Amity gritted her teeth. "But in the Boiling Isles, you're nothing! You hear me!? NOTHING!"

"How dare you!" Boscha yelled, sporting bloodshot eyes. "I don't know what's gotten into your head, but you better apologize right-!"

Amity promptly slapped Boscha so hard, she was sent straight to the ground,

"What makes you think you deserve more than anybody else here!? While you sit on a throne looking down on everybody else, the rest of the world actually has to put the effort to survive their day to day life!"

Then, Amity took a few steps closer towards Boscha, and put her heel behind her head, dropping her straight to the ground and grinding the heel as she spoke:

"See what this feels?! This is what it feels to be stepped on! What it feels to be demeaned! Humilliated! To be forced to stand around someone like you and act like you're friends!"

At the last part, Amity kicked Boscha hard enough to send her rolling, crashing into a desk and whimpering in pain as Amity approached her... while grabbing a chair.

"You... don't know... what you're talking about!" Boscha snapped, holding back tears as she weakly tried to stand up. "I've been through struggle! I've been through pain-!"

Before she could, Boscha was kicked by Amity, sending her back to the ground.

"Who would want to hear about your problems when everybody else has it worse!?"

"Skara would!" Boscha snapped, glaring at Amity before avoiding eye contact. "A-And... m-my other friends, too-!"

"Friends?! What friends!? You mean all those kids your parents paid or blackmailed to hang around you!?" Amity let out a mocking laugh. "Because let me be clear, Boscha: nobody in the Boiling Isles likes you! Everybody fears you! And everybody hates you!"

At that, Boscha raised her head, looking curious, yet terrified. "How... would you know?"

"How? It's simple: I met all those kids, and they all said the same thing: Oh, I don't like Boscha very much, but I didn't have a choice," Amity narrowed her eyes. "If all those kids actually had a choice, they'd leave you to rot all alone in a ditch!"

Boscha lowered her head, tears falling down her cheeks as she meekly whimped, "Stop..."

Amity smirked. "I bet even Skara would ditch you the first chance she got."

"Stop! Please, just stop!" Boscha cried, covering her eyes as tears fell down her cheeks like streams. "Stop talking! Stop hissing! Just stop!"

"You want me to stop? Well, then there's one thing you can do."

"Yes, any-"

But as soon as Boscha raised her head, she saw Amity had lifted the chair up high, looking down at Boscha with a furious glare as she stated:

"Die!"

Before Boscha could ask what she meant, Amity swung the chair down, hitting Boscha and sending her to the ground. But she didn't stop there, for as she began shedding her own tears, Amity raised the chair and began smacking Boscha with it repeateadly, hissing:

"Just die and stop existing, Boscha! Everything would be better if you were just gone! Your "friends" wouldn't be harassed! Skara would have a better life! My parents wouldn't have forced us to be friends! And most of all, I wouldn't have had to replace my real best friend, for a worthless, useless, pathetic, arrogant excuse for a witch like you!"

At the final exclamation, the chair finally succumbed to the consecutive smacking, shattering to pieces just as Amity took a moment to catch her breath, relax...

And realize what she had done.

"No..." Amity crouched down and shook Boscha, but she wouldn't move. "Nononononono!"

Amity grabbed Boscha's shoulders and lifted her, ignoring her empty expression as she shook her again.

"No, please, don't go! If you die, your parents are gonna kill me!" Amity cried to no avail. "Please, don't do this to me Boscha! Be an actual friend and wake up already!"

Once the shaking stopped, Boscha's head lowered, still without making a response.

Growing increasingly desperate, Amity began slapping Boscha in a panic.

"I said wake up, dang it! WHY WON'T YOU WAKE UP?! Wake up before somebody-!"

"M-Mittens?!"

Amity stopped her slapping and slowly turned around... only to be met with the horrified expressions of her siblings, who ran to her side as soon as they could.

"I-I didn't mean it, s-she goaded me, I-It's all her fault-"

"That doesn't matter now!" Edric stated. "We need to fix Boscha up before anybody finds out!"

"I didn't mean to..." Amity's eyes swelled with tears. "I didn't mean to..."

"We know you didn't, Amity," Emira said while grabbing her younger sister. "But please, stay focused!"

And with that, the siblings ran out of the room, leaving an astonished Luz and Skara behind.

"Did that... really happen?"

"Oh, don't worry..."

The entire room began to contort and reform, Luz looking around with confusion as Skara sighed wearily:

"It gets worse."

Once reformed, the memory now took place at the garden, Boscha, now conscious but still badly bruised, clung to her mother's leg while Amity and her siblings stood next to their parents, who were exchanging looks with Boscha's parents.

Notably, Amirani looked normal compared to the madwoman Luz and co. saw at the Underworld. No Abomination bits, no hints of utter insanity, she was a normal, if justifiably pissed off, woman.

"So..." Alador blurted, wiping some sweat off his forehead. "This is... a little awkward."

"That's a bit of an understatement," Prometheus responded. "I mean, if our children were going to fight, you could've at least told us about it. I'm sure we could've prepared a much better arena for their encounter."

"That being said, given how hard my daughter was beaten..." Amirani glanced at Boscha, who shivered in fear before she turned back to the Blights. "I have to ask, which of your children did it?"

Edric and Emira took a step, but were stopped by their mother before they could say anything.

"Before we give you an answer," Odalia narrowed her eyes. "What do you plan to do with the one who beat up your daughter?"

Amirani and Odalia exchanged furious expressions... and then the former smiled and said:

"I'd congratulate them!"

The Blight blinked twice. "Sorry, what?"

"Odalia, you should know better than anybody else that your family's seen as a bunch of weaklings by Boiling Underworld standards: so I never expected any of you to be able to do anything to my daughter," Amirani looked back at Boscha. "But for you to do this much damage against Boscha... I gotta say, I'm impressed."

Edric smiled. "So, wait, you're not angry?"

"Oh no, I'm totally livid, but I'm a fair woman: I give credit where credit is due," Amirani folded her arms. "Of course, I need to know who did it in order to give them their credit."

"Amity..." Boscha weakly said. "Amity... did it..."

The color drained out of the younger Amity's face as Boscha's mother walked up to her, her sincere smile somehow scaring her even further.

"Is that so? Well then, little Amity Calamity's sure stronger than I expected, huh?"

Shivering in sheer terror, Amity locked eyes with Amirani and remained silent as tears swelled on the corners of her eyes...

"I'm sorry..."

All hell broke loose soon after.

"What. Did. You. Say?"

Amity dropped to the ground and bowed, breaking down as she yelled at the top of her lungs:

"I didn't want to do it! I didn't want to go that far! I just couldn't help myself because she wouldn't stop so annoying!"

"Oh?"

Amirani turned to her daughter. "Is that true, Boscha?"

Amity raised her head, noticing Boscha shivering in fear just like her as her father walked to her side, and put a hand on her shoulder:

"Tell us, Boscha. What exactly happened that lead to this... beating, you received?"

Hearing that, Boscha took several deep breaths, stealing a glance at the terrified Amity before she ultimately replied:

"I... I told her... to meet me... inside..."

Amity's eyes widened, followed by Luz.

"Boscha... lied?"

"She sure did," Skara took a deep breath. "And that's not all."

Luz turned back to the memory, and clutching her chest, she witnessed what came next.

"I told her to see me... we went to a room... a-and I egged and p-provoked her... I wanted to see if she was still weak... and she proved me wrong..." Boscha clenched her fist and lowered her head, holding back her tears. "So, so wrong..."

Amity stopped crying

"Hmph, for once, it seems I have to eat my own words," Amirani spat as she stomped to Boscha. "It's not that Amity was stronger than I thought, it's that Boscha was far, far weaker than I anticipated."

Boscha wiped away her tears. "Sorry, Mom-"

"Unacceptable."

Amirani grabbed Boscha by the neck of her shirt and raised her as she stated:

"We're gonna go back home and we're gonna make sure you can carry the title of "Apex" without making a fool of ourselves again. Have I been clear?"

"... Crystal..."

"Then we're leaving. Come on, Prometheus, let's go."

"Oh dear, looks like she's pissed off again," Prometheus sighed wearily. "My deepest apologies, Alador. Odalia. But I gotta go and ensure my wife doesn't go on a killing spree. Again."

"PROMETHEUS!"

"I'm coming! I'm coming!"

And with that, the Urodelas left the party, leaving the Blights and the Braes utterly stunned as to what had just happened...

But their shock paled in comparison to Luz, who stood completely dumbfounded as Skara grabbed her hand and lead her out of the memory.

"Did..." Luz uttered. "Did that... really just happen?"

Skara lowered her head. "I'm afraid it did, Luz."

Luz lowered her head, and after a moment of silence, the duo eventually left the memory lane and returned to the real world...


Once back in the real world, Luz and Skara looked around, meeting the Owl House residents (and Lilith) looking at them with worry, before turning to Amity just as she woke up.

"Ugh, my head," she groaned. "Why does it feel like I got beaten up while I was unconscious?"

"Don't look at me," Skara said before pointing at Luz. "She stopped me from doing it."

Luz threw a disapproving look at Sara before Amity ran up to her.

"Luz, are you okay?!"

"Yeah, I am..." Luz answered as she gently removed Amity's hand. "I just... need time to process everything I saw-"

"Why? What did you see? How much did you see?!"

"Again, I need some time to process it," Luz took a deep breath. "And in the meantime, I think you and Skara should go home."

"R-Right, right, today was... a pretty heavy day," Amity scratched her head and smiled awkwardly. "So, see you tomorrow?"

Luz nodded with a smile. "Yeah."

And with that, Amity and Skara bid farewell to the Owl House residents and left the house, taking a leisurely stroll as they headed back home.

Unfortunately, the calm atmosphere didn't last long.

"I swear, Skara, if Luz breaks up with me over this, I'm gonna make you pay!"

Skara rolled her eyes. "You can bark all you want, Amity, but we both know who'll be responsible if Luz does break up with you."

"Tsk, who, Boscha?"

Skara stopped on her tracks, and it took Amity a few steps before she noticed. Once she did, though, Skara shook it off, and walked away without sharing another word with the Blight, a sentiment shared by Amity.

The greenette went back home to see her family going to sleep... and Willow sitting on the couch.

"Willow?" Amity blurted in surprise. "What are you doing here?"

"Simply put, Amity," Willow sighed. "We need to talk."

Chapter Text

And here we have Chapter 9, the return of the Apex... or whatever is left of it anyway. I'm gonna try to make this Chapter a little bit more comedic to contrast last chapter, but I can't promise anything.

Also, for those who think last chapter was an April Fools joke that's non-canon, like Dreams of Indigo... yes and no: I meant for it to be an April Fools joke, but it's completely canon.

Anyway, there's really not much else to say here, so let's get right to it.


Amity sat down on a chair opposite of Willow, who remained on the couch with her legs crossed. The Blight family had decided to hit the hay after a stressful day, so Amity and Willow were left to talk things out alone...

Which was a blessing in disguise, given the topic Willow brought up:

"What happened between you and Boscha?"

Okay, so first she risked Luz breaking up with her because of the rather... brutal mishandling she did with the Boscha situation, and now her former best friend wanted to know what was going on?

What did she do to deserve this?!

"Why do you ask?" Amity growled, folding her arms. "We had a fallout, and that's it. There's nothing else to it."

"Really now?" Willow's glasses began to shine threateningly. "Because Skara brought up a very interesting idea that I'd like an explanation to, Amity."

Amity narrowed her eyes. "And that would be?"

"That you're at least partially responsible for how Boscha ended up."

Amity's eyes widened, and she had to use all of her focus not to blow up in rage.

"Out."

Willow tilted her head.

"Get. Out. Of my house." Amity faced Willow with visible rage. "Now!"

Willow paused for a moment, then stood up and dusted herself, before she walked to the door with Amity by her side.

Once Amity opened the door, Willow left without much fuss... only to stop and face her as she said:

"You can't keep hiding the truth forever, Amity. Eventually, you'll have no choice but to reveal what happened between you two-"

"NOTHING HAPPENED!" Amity yelled. "WE HAD A FALLOUT BECAUSE BOSCHA'S ALWAYS BEEN A PATHETIC EXCUSE FOR A WITCH! SOMEONE WHO ONLY CARES ABOUT HERSELF AND IS WILLING TO GRIND EVERYONE ELSE TO THE GROUND TO GET WHAT SHE WANTS! NOW DROP THESE FALSE ACCUSATIONS BEFORE I GET YOU KICKED OUT OF HEXSIDE!"

With her mind spoken, Amity slammed the door shut, Willow standing unfazed at the sight. She then folded her arms and walked away, her glasses hiding her disappointed expression.


"Yes, I believe this is the clearest indication that you're... a Static Passenger."

The Ruby Sulphur Trio raised and eyebrow in unison as they looked at Boscha's number, which was flickering, but remained in its current state of 16,760.

Despite everything Boscha had done up to this point, her number had not gone up or down no matter how hard she tried, or what she did. Therefore, the Trio had gone to pay a visit... to Phos' home, the Lustrous Car, where a robed figure simply known as "Sensei" inspected the number.

"Static Passenger?" Boscha asked with confusion. "What the hell's that supposed to mean?"

"Passengers come to the Infinity Train to work through their issues, but sometimes, one or many factor causes them to be unable to move on. Unable to change. Unable to progress," Sensei explained. "As long this factor isn't dealt with, the number will never change. And thus, you will never leave."

Boscha's eyes widened, visibly stunned by the revelation.

"Never... leave... the Train? Never go home?!"

"All hope is not lost yet, however," Sensei added. "If the factors leaving your friend static are taken care of, she can develop into a better person, and thus, find a way home."

"Thanks, Sensei, we really appreciate it," Phos said before bowing down. "Anything else you can tell us?"

"Hmm, well, Antarcticite have taken up your duties since you left with Lapis. They've been busy every day, but have asked if you've been okay."

Phos looked surprised at the remark, but quickly shook it off and smiled.

"Thanks, Sensei, I'll be sure to greet them before I leave."

Sensei nodded, and the trio walked away from the entity, Boscha looking at her static number while Phos spoke:

"Okay, so, that wasn't quite the answer any of us were hoping for, but let's try to stay optimistic: sure, being a Static Passenger doesn't sound good, but it could always be worse! You could be a Hopeless Passenger who-"

"I'm sorry."

The trio stopped and faced Boscha, who pocketed her hands and looked elsewhere.

"I'm sorry that we had to go back to your Car in order to figure out what was happening to me. Knowing you don't seem to have a good opinion of this place and all..."

"It's fine, Boscha, we'd have to go see this place eventually anyway. At least, I think we'd have to," Phos sighed. "That being said, I do feel a bit uneasy standing here, so if you don't mind, I'd like to go someplace else."

"That's fine by me," Boscha sighed. "But what are Chris and I supposed to do until you return?"

"Wait, Phosphophyllite!"

The trio turned around, and saw a Gem with black hair running towards them, wobbling for a moment and flailing their arms before they stopped and regained their balance.

Then they tripped as soon as they reached Phos.

"Obsidian?"

"You know who this is?" Chris asked.

"Uh, yeah: Boscha, Chris, this is Obsidian, the Gem in charge of designing and creating our weapons," Phos explained before turning back to the Gem. "Now, what do you need, Obsidian?"

"It's very important!" they stated before reaching for their back. "Antarcticite was very adamant that I gave you this!"

Obsidian took out a sword with a serrated blade, one that Phos quickly recognized as they grabbed and held it.

"This is... Antarcticite's sword."

"A pretty badass one at that," Boscha said with a smile. "Hey, think you could make me one of them?"

Obsidian hummed. "I got a spare sword at my forge. I think I could lend it to you-"

"Don't even think about it!"

Without warning, the Ruby Sulphur Trio were sent back by a powerful punch to the ground, delivered by a Gem with long black hair that, honestly, kinda resembled an older Obsidian.

"Bort..." Phos frowned.

"Why am I not surprised that as soon as you come back here, You bring nothing but trouble, Phosphophyllite?" Bort unsheathed a sword and narrowed their eyes. "You really haven't changed a bit since you left with Lapis!"

"Bort, wait, please hear me out!" Obsidian spoke, shivering as they tried to get Bort's attention. "Phos here wasn't doing anything wrong! They just came to ask Sensei for help for their friend-"

"Obsidian, that "friend" is the Car Slayer, Boscha Urodela!" Bort snapped, gripping their sword as they got ready to attack. "That's the maniac who's been destroying Cars left and right!"

"Ugh, why didn't I see this coming?" Boscha rolled her eyes and stepped past Phos. "Listen up, I forced Phosphophyllite here to guide me here in order to find out what's wrong with my number. And now that we found out what's wrong, we're leaving-"

"Oh no, you don't!"

Bort dashed towards Boscha, who flinched as Chris floated in front of her and blocked the attack, the strike being powerful enough to send gusts of wind that sent everybody but Boscha and Bort rolling away.

"Chris!"

"Stay out of this!" Bort demanded. "Somebody needs to put a stop to this psycho's quest of destruction before she takes out the entire Train!"

"I'm not moving!" Chris stated. "As a Denizen, it's my duty to protect the Passenger I travel with!"

Bort's hair began to move up.

"This thing stopped being a Passenger long ago!"

Bort swatted the duo with their hair, sending them sliding further back, with a door opening right behind Boscha.

"Phos, get out of here!"

"But what about you?!"

"I'll be fine, just go!"

Phos looked hesitant for a moment, but nodded and ran through the portal, which closed as Bort tightly gripped their sword as their hair prepared to swat them again.

Having no other choice, Boscha stood up and clenched her fists, covering them with flames as she gritted her teeth...


*SPLASH!*

Alex was quick to swim out of the pool he was dunked into, and as he caught his breath, the passenger who threw the ball grabbed their prize and moved on, blowing a raspberry at him along the way.

"Hey, come on, that's just mean!"

The Cat simply snickered, remaining calm as Simon, who was manning the gift shop with her, gave her a look of disapproval.

"You know, of all people to put in charge of a dunking game, why Alex?" he questioned bluntly. "I don't know if you've noticed, but he doesn't like water."

"You're forgetting, Simon, that he was the one who insisted on running the game," Samantha answered plainly. "Besides, I got so many workers now that there are less and less stands available to run nowadays; I need to work with what I got!"

Simon, however, wasn't convinced. "You just didn't want to waste a perfectly good dunking game and nobody else was willing to put up with it, right?"

Samantha remained quiet as her eyes slowly darted to the side... and then she jumped off and ran away.

"Hey, get back here, you coward! Ugh, I hope the rest are having a better time."


Meanwhile, with Lindsay, the girl was testing out a dancing game with four arrow panels on a platform. She kept her eyes focused on the screen, grabbing the pipes by her side to keep her balance as she moved according to the incoming notes.

Alas, once the song finished and she stopped, she saw she had failed to beat her high score.

"Dang... this game's real tough," she said while catching her breath. "But I'd be lying... if I said it wasn't fun..."

Lindsay left the platform and sat down, drinking some water just in time for a boy with Blonde hair, Orange glasses, a pair of headphones and a rock glued to a screw he insisted was a "ring" to fly past her, nearly hitting her with the long planks he held.

"Hey, watch where you're going, nitwit!"

"Sorry!"

The boy flew towards a large ship suspended over the ground, with Grace and Lucy both working on covering the deck with planks.

"I got some more planks!"

"Thanks, Kid," Grace said before hitting the nail with her hammer. "Hand it over to Lucy."

Kid promptly placed the wood next to the eyepatched girl, and once he finished, he flew down and looked around the unfinished boat.

"It's looking good so far," he remarked. "But why do you need such a big boat?"

"Ship," Grace bluntly clarified.

"Sam-I mean, The Cat wants to introduce a new attraction to the Carnival," Lucy explained, waiting until she finished nailing a plank before she added. "It's a massive ship meant to represent one of those ancient pirate ships, and it'll go up and down like a rollercoaster, or one of those ferris wheel things!"

"Whoa, that sounds so cool!"

"I know, right?!"

Lucy and Kid exchanged a high five before he heard somebody call for his name.

"Sorry girls, duty calls!"

And with that, Kid floated up and flew away, Lucy waving goodbye before she went back to work.

"Kid is such a nice... well, kid."

"I still can't believe he calls himself Kid Cosmic," Grace shrugged. "I mean, I totally understand that some people prefer to be called by their nicknames, and it's also pretty cool, but... I dunno, it sounds kinda funny to me!"

"That just adds to his charm," Lucy remarked.

Grace flashed a quirky smile, though it quickly faded when a newspaper landed next to her and Lucy.

The duo looked down, and saw Lindsay waving at them before she walked back to her own game.

"Where did she even get the newspaper?" Grace pondered out loud. "And why did she give us one-?"

"No way!" Lucy chirped. "Grace, I gotta go show this to Todd! Be right back!"

"Hey, wait-!"

But it was too late, for Lucy slid down the boat's structure until she hit the ground, at which point she ran off, giggling all the while.

"And there she goes," Grace rubbed her forehead. "Looks like I'll work on this thing alone..."


At another part of the carnival Car, Todd was running a stand of his own, and given what had happened to him, the fact he was in charge of an arm wrestling game was fitting, yet kinda cruel.

He didn't seem to mind, though.

"Come in, come all!" he chirped excitedly. "Come test your strength against Armichael!"

A girl long, messy Blonde hair and her Purple gorilla companion walked to the stand.

"Can I give it a try?" the girl asked. "It seems fun!"

"Sure! Just hand over a ticket and I'll set it up for you..."

"My name's Hazel."

"Hazel, right."

Hazel searched her pockets and took out a ticket, which she handed to the one-armed stand owner as the gorilla grabbed her waist.

"Okay, now give me a second to-"

"NNNGH!"

The sounds caught Todd off-guard, and he turned around to see Hazel, being lifted by the gorilla, trying and failing to get the arm to move.

"Why! Won't! This! Thing! Move!"

"Maybe because I haven't started it yet?"

Hazel looked down, and saw Todd about to press the "START" button. Hazel, in turn, smiled sheepishly and backed away, waiting until the button was pressed before she tried again.

She was beaten in seconds.

"Dang it!"

Her gorilla companion grabbed Hazel, put her nearby, then grabbed the mechanical arm.

As soon as Todd started it, the gorilla wrestled the arm so hard, they ripped it off, much to Hazel's delight.

"Welp, guess I'm out of a job."

"Todd!"

The boy turned around, and saw Lucy running up to him, holding a rolled up piece of paper on her hand.

"Todd, do you know where Simon and Grace are?!" she asked. "I gotta show them something big!"

"Like what?"

Lucy unrolled the paper, and as soon as she showed the boy its content, his eyes widened while Lucy flashed an excited smile...


Once the remnants of the Apex were gathered, everybody went on the truck of The Cat's romantic partner, a bear by the name of Frank, and rode into a Car where sand was everywhere, with a giant tower in the distance that they rode to as soon as they saw it.

"There it is, the Tower of the Archfiends!" Lucy chirped, pointing at the building before looking back at her paper. "According to the papernews-"

"Newspaper!" Simon corrected.

"Gesundheit," Lucy replied, to Simon's exasperation. "Those who go inside and pass the Archfiends' trials can acquire items with their powers: the Cloak of Rubicante, the Shield of Cagnazzo, the Arm of Scarmiglione, and the Winds of Barbariccia!"

"Okay, I can get the first three, but why are the Winds considered an item?" The Cat pondered out loud. "I mean, they're wind. It's not like you can grab and save it in your pocket. Not without something like a cup or-"

"Shut up, Null, nobody cares," Lindsay interjected, adopting a nicer tone when she faced Lucy. "So, does it say what trials we gotta pass in order to get the things?"

Lucy looked at the papernews-sorry, newspaper-and squinted her eye...

"No, we need to go inside to find out."

"Well, does it say anything else that could help us?" Grace asked.

Lucy shook her head sadly as she rolled the newspaper into a roll.

"Well, it's at least worth a shot," Alex sighed. "The Conductor knows we're gonna need all the power we can get if we ever meet that lunatic again."

Grace folded her arms with a disapproving look. "Alex, what did we say about acting like The Conductor was a deity?"

The boy lowered his head in shame. "Not to do it anymore."

"And we're here."

The truck stopped right next to the tower, and Simon and Grace hopped off before approaching the gates, alongside the children.

"Good luck, Simon!" The Cat called. "Frank and I will be waiting for you to come back!"

"Thanks!"

And with that said and done, the group entered the building, the doors closing so suddenly and so loudly that the kids jumped onto Simon and Grace's arms.

As if that wasn't enough, a group of four energy spheres appeared out of nowhere, floating up before morphing into four entities that Lucy recognized.

"The Archfiends..."

"Greetings, visitors. We are the Four Archfiends," the red entity spoke. "I'm Rubicante. And my partners here are Scarmiglione, Cagnazzo, and Barbariccia. Are you here to pass our trials and obtain our items?"

"Oh no, we were just looking for a bathroom, and we stumbled upon here along the way," Lindsay scoffed as she hopped off Simon's arm. "Of course we're here for the trials! Is there anything else to do in this stupid place?!"

"Lindsay, calm down," Simon told the girl. "We don't really have the resources to be mean to Denizens anymore, remember?

"And whose fault do you think that is!?"

"Passionate and headstrong, I like this girl," the yellow entity, Barbariccia, spoke. "In fact, I think I'll take her for myself!"

The entity flew to Lindsay, and merged with her, bathing the girl in yellowe light before teleporting her elsewhere, startling the group.

"I think I know who to pick."

"Me too."

The spirits of Scarmiglione and Cagnazzo flew to Todd and Alex in unison, bathing them in light before teleporting them as well.

"And now, only one remains."

Rubicante flew to Lucy, and just like the rest, she was bathed in red light before she was teleported to another room, though she at least managed to reach for Simon and Grace before she was taken away.

"What..." Grace blinked twice. "Just happened?"

"Your children are safe."

The duo turned around, and saw a man clad in armor approaching them, holding a giant sword over his shoulder.

"What you should focus on now, is getting the power to protect them."

Simon and Grace exchanged looks.

"Follow me."


Being the first one to be teleported away, Lindsay was obviously the first one to reach her room, and as soon as she was dropped, she shook her head and stood up.

"Ugh, I'm totally sending a complaint to The Conductor once I see them!" she growled while dusting herself. "That's no way to treat a lady!"

"Okay, I know I said I liked your attitude," Barbariccia said as she materialized next to Lindsay. "But maybe you should do what your father said and calm down."

"Simon's not my father!" Lindsay folded her arms and rolled her eyes. "He's more like an older brother who treats me like a baby while ignoring my greatness."

Barbariccia raised an eyebrow. "Your greatness?"

Lindsay smiled cockily and pulled a couple ballet moves.

"Flexibility! Charisma! Passion! I practically have it all!"

Barbariccia wasn't amused. "And yet you still landed on the Infinity Train."

Lindsay paused, then faced the entity and snapped her fingers. "That was an accident!"

"Just like you?"

Lindsay's eyes widened, and she quickly went on the defensive:

"Just tell me what I have to do in order to get the stupid Winds!"

Barbariccia snapped her fingers, and the room around them transformed into a dance room, with colored tiles, flashing lights, and even a disco ball suspended in the air.

"Wind is known for being many things: unstoppable, unrelenting, and it goes wherever it wants! So what better test to see if you're worthy than a dance battle!"

"Ohohoho, now you're speaking my language!" Lindsay grinned smugly. "I'm gonna wipe the floor with you!"

"Ha! Who said you'd be fighting me?" Barbariccia chuckled. "You're not the only one who came here looking for the Winds, you know?"

Lindsay raised an eyebrow. "Who else came here?"

The lights turned on in one corner of the dance floor, and it revealed Lindsay's opponent was... a square robot that transformed into a more humanoid form, with a glowing "54" number on his palm.

"Greetings, darling, I'm Mettaton," the robot greeted. "And when it comes to dancing, I'm the undefeated king! If you want those Winds, you'll have to get through me!"

Barbariccia flew to Lindsay's side. "Still want the Winds? Beat the robot in a dance battle. You up for it?"

Lindsay blinked twice, then shrugged and stretched.

"Eh, sure, I've fought weirder things before. So give me your best, Mettaton!"


Back with Simon and Grace, the duo were lead by the armored man to an isolated room, where two spears were planted by their blades.

"So, why did you take us here?" Grace asked.

"These spears were once used by... a very close person to me," the man stated. "And I was waiting until a pair of Passengers came along to test whether they were worthy to inherit these spears."

"So, wait," Simon shrugged. "Are you saying our group is the first one to visit this place in... forever?"

"Not necessarily, but something about you gives me hope you can wield them," the man stated. "So, go ahead. Grab the spears, and we'll test if you're worthy to take them."

Simon and Grace exchanged looks, then slowly walked towards the spears, sharing a whispering dialogue as they did:

"I don't trust that guy, something about him feels... off..."

"And I agree, but what else can we do? We can't let the kids be the only ones to get upgrades; we're supposed to keep them safe."

"And I agree, but is this really the best way to do it? It feels like a trap."

Eventually, the pair reached the spears, and after a bit of hesitation, they grabbed the spears... and pulled them off with ease.

Before they could process this, however, a clash of blades was heard, and once they turned, they saw the armored man clashing blades with one familiar entity...

"The shattered Gem!" Simon exclaimed.

"The name's Phosphophyllite!" Phos exclaimed before jumping away from the man. "But you can just call me Phos!"

"Wha-when-what are you doing here?!" Grace exclaimed. "We thought you were going around with the psycho's team!"

"Something happened and we were forced to split up," Phos exclaimed as they stood up and braced their sword. "Then I somehow wound up on this place and saw this guy about to attack you!"

Simon's eyes widened. "What?! So I was right?!"

"I'm no mere guy, though," the armored man stated as he stood up. "I'm Golbez, the strongest Lunarian there is. And after spending years preparing for those who'll bare the legacy of Cecil, I won't stand still and have him become a pain in my plans again!"

"Okay, I'm totally lost," Grace remarked. "I don't play games that often, let alone Final Fantasy, so I have no idea what he's talking about."

"That doesn't matter," Simon stated as he gripped his spear. "What matters is that this guy wants to kill us, and we gotta fight back!"

Phos got ready to swing their sword. "And you'll have my help."

"Get all the help you want! You're nothing but a shadow of your former self!" Golbez growled as he bared his sword. "And I, Golbez, shall swallow that light to extinction!"


Meanwhile, Todd and Alex arrived at the same time on the same room, with it soon transforming to resemble a beach on one side, and a barren wasteland on the other side.

"Huh, I'm guessing the beach is mine and the wasteland is yours," Alex remarked. "But what do these have to do with the Shield and the Arm?"

Both objects appeared soon after: the Shield on a pedestal at the sea, and the Arm clutching the very ground.

"You want the Shield?" Cagnazzo asked, appearing next to Alex. "Calm your mind and walk to it. Use the sea as if it were the floor."

"You want the Arm?" Scarmiglione asked, appearing next to Todd. "Head to it. Grab it. And make it your own."

The spirits flew to the sidelines, and watched with great interest as the boys stood up and prepared to go for the objects.

Alex took a deep breath and took a step in the water. It released a little ripple, but it didn't swallow him up. So, he spread his arms for balance and kept taking step after step, waiting for the ripples to stop before taking another.

As for Todd, he simply walked to the Arm and took a deep breath as he reached for it. He clutched it and took it out of the ground with relative ease, then tried to figure out what to do now. He edged the place where the elbow would be at his own elbow, slowly and carefully...

Back with Alex, he successfully reached the pedestal, and grabbed the Shield before putting it on his arm, the object shrinking down to a more manageable size soon after.

"Huh, that was easy," he remarked. "Hey, Todd! I got the Shield!"

"And I got the Arm!" Todd chirped, waving the shrunken Arm now connected to him. "Guess it wasn't as hard as we thought!"

Suddenly, Scarmiglione materialized an actual body behind Todd.

"Don't get cocky yet!"

And then Cagnazzo did the same.

"There's still one more thing you got to do before you can take those items."

The boys turned around, flinching and shaking for a moment before they looked at the items they held. And having come too far, they readied themselves for battle.


Last but not least, Lucy landed on her butt at Rubicante's room... where a pink-haired girl already stood.

"Huh?" Lucy pondered as she dusted herself. "Who are you?"

The pinkette turned around and pointed at herself, revealing a green glow on her palm.

"I'm the one who will wield the Cloak of Rubicante and prove myself worthy of having the Archfiend as my familiar! I'm Louise Francoise le Blanc de la Vallière!"

Oh god, what a long name. Lucy winced. People with long names are so annoying! And she's got a number, so she must be a Passenger.

"Right, I forgot to tell you that you're not the only one seeking the Cloak," Rubicante remarked. "But then again, it wouldn't really change anything whether you knew about it or not. You must still pass the trial in order to earn the right to wield it."

"Right, I figured," Lucy scratched her head. "So, what's the trial?"

Rubicante snapped his fingers, and the pedestal where the Cloak stood was sent far into the horizon, while the floor transformed into hot, burning coal. Also, Louise was sent sliding to Lucy's side.

"Whoever reaches the pedestal first gets the Cloak."

"Huh, that's it?" Lucy smiled. "This'll be easier than I thought!"

"I agree," Louise added while swaying her hair to her right. "I almost feel insulted at how easy this setup is!"

"Oh don't worry," Rubicante smirked. "You'll see why it's so simple soon enough."

Rubicante snapped his fingers again, and the girls' shoes vanished, with them taking a second to react to their bare feet touching the burning coal.

"There, now that the whole trial's been set, start running!"

Lucy took a deep breath and immediately sprinted forward, leaving Louise behind.

"Oh, you think you got this in the bag!?" Louise reached for her hair and took out a wand. "Well, let me prove you wrong!"

She moved the wand for a moment, and encased herself in a bubble, which she made float towards the cloak as she laughed, leaving Lucy to bite her dust.

Once she was next to it, Louise burst the bubble and reached for the cloak... only for its pedestal to slide away from her.

"What?!"

Louise summoned the bubble again, and went after the pedestal, which slid away to another place as she got closer.

"Stop moving already!"

Eventually, the pedestal slid towards Lucy, and she got an idea: she dodged the pedestal, then reached for the cloak before it slid too far away.

She snatched it and wrapped it around herself, and once she did, the entire room turned back to normal, and Louise's bubble burst, sending her crashing on the ground as Rubicante emerged from the shadows.

"And I believe that settles it."

"That settles nothing!" Louise yelled. "I would've had the cloak-"

"If you ran on the coal like intended, instead of cheating your way to the pedestal."

Louise gasped, gritted her teeth, and glared at Lucy.

"This isn't over, whoever-you-are! You may have won this one, but if we ever meet again, I'll be the one to come out on top!"

"Yeah, I'd like to see you try!" Lucy scoffed. "And just to make it clear, I have an actual name, you know?"

Lucy wrapped the cloak around herself, and smiled proudly.

"The name's Lucy Noceda."

With a snap of his fingers, Rubicante teleported Lucy out of the room.


Back with Phos, Simon, and Grace, the trio hit Golbez with everything they got, swinging their weapons wildly while Golbez simply blocked the attacks with little effort.

"Hmph, it is pointless to try fight me like this!"

With a swing of his sword, the impact sent the trio sliding back, with Simon and Grace quickly getting an idea and sharing nods with Phos.

The Gem humanoid promptly bolted to Golbez, and began swinging his blade while Simon and Grace stood up.

"This is absurd!" Golbez snapped as his and Phos' blades locked. "If all three of you swinging at once couldn't beat me, what makes you think just one of you swinging will defeat me!?"

"I'm not trying to defeat you," Phos smirked. "I'm trying to distract you!"

Golbez tilted his head, but before he could react, Phos leaped back and Simon and Grace dashed forward, impaling the Denizen with their spears in unison.

After a few seconds, the duo pulled their spears back, and Golbez dropped to his knees, chuckling:

"Not bad."

And with that, he vanished like dust being swept by the wind.

"Alright, that guy's taken care of," Phos sighed. "I guess that means you get to keep the spears, right?"

"Well, I don't see why not," Simon placed the spear over his shoulder with a cocky grin. "I mean, who's gonna stop me?"

"Not me, that's for sure," Phos snickered.

Simon nodded, but before he could move on, Grace nudged his shoulder and gestured at Phos. It didn't take him long to realize what she was implying, and so, after a bit of hesitation, he said:

"Hey, uh..."

"Call me Phos."

"Phos, right," Simon eyed Grace, who gave him a thumbs up. "I just wanted to say-"

"Yeah?"

"... Thank you, Phos. For helping us."

Phos smiled and nodded. "I was just passing by, but sure, your welcome."

And with that, a portal door opened, the other side showing the Lustrous Car.

"What?" Grace blurted. "I didn't summon that thing."

"I did," Phos explained as he headed for the door. "Denizens can open doors too, but they'll always take them back to their original Car, assuming they're not already there."

"Hmm, I see," Simon nodded. "We'll keep it noted."

Phos flashed a thumbs up, and promptly walked through the door, which closed as Simon and Grace waved goodbye... and just in time to hear:

"Thank you, Phos. For helping us."

Simon winced, and once he turned around, he saw Grace holding a recorder with a cheeky smile.

"If I ever get a phone, I'm totally making this my ringtone."

"Don't you dare!"

Grace ran away, giggling as Simon chased after her.


Once back at the Lustrous Car, Phos inmediately began searching for their companions...

And saw Chris knocked out on the ground, while Boscha was grasping for air while being held by Bort.

"Hmph, this is the infamous Lion of Cremation that's been causing so much trouble on the Infinity Train?" Bort narrowed their eyes. "Ridiculous."

Bort threw Boscha to the ground, causing her to cough as she fruitlessly tried to stand up.

"Well, if there's any silver lining to this disappointment," Bort's hair levitated. "Is that your reign of terror shall have a quick, swift end."

Bort swung their hair down, and the ground shook upon impact...

But there was only a crater on the ground, rather than the pool of blood and corpse of Boscha they expected.

Naturally, Bort looked around until they saw Phos grabbing both Boscha and Chris in their arms, a portal door leading to Mana Academy behind them.

"You again!?" Bort hissed. "What do you think you're doing!?"

"Doing my duty as a Denizen!" Phos responded. "I'm protecting my Passenger!"

Phos hopped through the portal door, and Bort dashed to it. However, they failed to reach it before it closed completely, causing them to plant their sword in frustration.

"Ugh, fine! Play that game if you want, Phos!" Bort narrowed their eyes. "You'll get a reality check soon enough. The Lion of Cremation is too strong to be allowed to live, and eventually, you'll have no choice but to take her out..."


Back outside the building, The Cat checked her nails when she saw the remnants of the Apex approaching them, each showcasing their items with proud smiles.

"Well, that didn't take as long as I expected," The Cat remarked as everybody hopped in. "Did you get help?"

"Truth be told, we did: that shattered Gem we saw before came back and helped Grace and I beat this Golbez guy," Simon explained. "They couldn't stay, though. Said they had to go back and see if the psycho hadn't burned down their Car yet."

"Speaking of her, with these upgrades, we should be able to stand a chance against the her!" Lucy said gleefully. "Next time we see her, she won't know what hit her!"

"Don't get so cocky, kid, you just got those items," The Cat stated. "If you really want to stand a chance, you gotta learn how to use them. Did the Archfiends tell you how they even worked?"

"They gave us a very brief rundown on what they did," Alex said. "But they said that the best way to learn how to use them was to train as much as we could."

"Then we already know where to go next," Grace said, humming in thought. "We need to find some kind of Car that doubles as a training location, like a gym, or something."

"And in the meantime, we better start making up a plan for when things get hectic," Simon added. "Even if we're spread apart, the Apex still has a lot of enemies."

"Bah, classic Simon, a complete worrywart," Lindsay rolled her eyes. "It's been over a week since the Apex disbanded, and the psycho have made a name for themselves since then, who'd waste their time trying to get rid of what remains of the Apex?"



Meanwhile, in a cyberspace-like location, a robotic peacock extended his hands forward and released a row of missiles at Chloe, who hopped all over the place to dodge them.

"You foolish child, I will kill you!"

Chloe leaped high and clutched her pipe.

"You sure about that?"

She swung her pipe and sent the peacock flying up, a blue glow briefly catching his attention before a charged energy blast pierced through his chest.

The peacock turned around to see a humanoid robot clad in blue armor aiming his buster at him, a neutral expression on his face.

Then, he turned back just in time to see another humanoid robot, this one clad in red, swinging a green saber at just the right spot to slice him in half.

"No! My only weakness! DYING!"

And with those words spoken, the peacock exploded while the robots and Chloe reunited.

One short victory dance later, the trio materialized into light: blue for the blue robot, red for the red robot, and Purple for Chloe.

Soon after, at a laboratory, the trio rematerialized on a platform... or at least, the red and blue robots did, Chloe missed the platform and crash landed on the ground.

"I'm okay!" she chirped while flashing a peace sign. "And Cyber Peacock's been taken care of!"

"And it didn't take as long as we expected," Atticus remarked, waggling his tail. "In fact, you seemed to spend more time on his stage than on his battle."

Chloe shivered as she stood up. "Those stupid data orbs are the worst."

"Well, look at the bright side, it's over now," the blue robot sighed. "At least, for now."

"One day, we'll put an end to all the senseless violence, X," the red robot said.

"I know, Zero, it's just... I'm a little exhausted."

"Then take a rest for now," the brunette recepcionist said while pressing some buttons. "I'll let you guys know if another Maverick attacks."

"Thanks, Iris."

And with that, the blue-red duo walked away, just in time for the "Weapon Get" sequence to hit Chloe.

"You got... Mahamayuri Train!"

A set of cybernetic feathers attached themselves to Chloe's lower back, extendong afterwards to reveal gem-like inclusions at the tips.

"The Mahamayuri Train, huh? Sounds cool!" Chloe hummed. "But why is it called a train? Shouldn't it be a tail?"

"Well, the feathers that most peacocks have actually make up something called a "train"."

Everybody turned around to face Lexi, who was surrounded by a ring of flying books, with one such book held wide open in his hand.

"As for what the Mahamayuri is, it says here that-"

"Before you do that, is the Mahamayuri a demon?"

Lexi quickly searched his book. "Uh, no, but-"

"In one ear, out the other, then: I couldn't care less!" Chloe chirped. "Besides, the most important thing to do right now is figure out how this thing works."

"Hmm, I believe there's a passenger with a similar system on her back," Iris remarked. "Perhaps she could teach you a thing or two?"

"It's worth a shot, at least! So, where do I find her?"

Iris grimaced. "Well, I can actually summon her here, if you want."

"Please do!"

Iris nodded, pushed some buttons, and next thing anybody knew, an Orange light materialized on the platform, eventually morphing into a redheaded girl with a Purple dress, mechanical hands, and a top hat that covered her eyes.

"Well, then, Iris, looks like I'm being summoned yet again," the girl chuckled. "You better have a good reason this time."

"She does, and that reason's called Chloe of the Vermillion!" Chloe proudly proclaimed. "You see, I got this new power up, called the Mahamayuri Train, and I was told you could help me learn how to control it."

"I can teach you, alright," the girl's toothy smile widened. "But are you sure you're up for it?"

Chloe pounded her fists. "Absolutely! Just teach me what to do and I'll learn quickly!"

"Interesting... very interesting..." she giggled. "Teaching you's gonna be a lot of fun!"

"Then we're settled! Just one question before we begin," Chloe tilted her head. "Who are you?"

The girl tilted her hat and opened her eyes, revealing not only empty eyesockets, but glowing eyesockets, with the number "13" on both of them.

"You can call me Peacock."

Chapter Text

And here we have chapter ten. We're going back to the Boiling Isles for this chapter, and next chapter, before the big fight between Boscha, the remnants of the Apex, and Chloe's group.

And before you start saying I spoiled a big thing, come on, everybody saw it coming. XD

Now, unlike last time, I have some things to say here:

After leaving the Cursed Princess Club Car, Boscha goes back to wearing the Hexside uniform. And she's probably going to stick with the uniform until she changes.

Peacock really is a Passenger: the reason her number's on her eyes is because her arms are artificial. Also, come on, it looks so cool! Also also, she's acting as a mentor for Chloe to learn how to use the Mahamayuri Train.

I'm sorry if several bits cut off too early last chapter: outside of Lucy, just about everybody faced their full trial only partially, the rest happening offscreen.

As for Lucy having "Noceda" as her surname... I'll let you figure out what that means. ;)

And fair warning to Lumity fans: I've shown a few issues between Amity and Luz, but this chapter really begins to make you wonder if they're good for each other. Especially since they're only together because of Boscha's doing.

And because I feel someone will ask eventually, here's what each Archfiend Item does:

The Cloak of Rubicante makes its wearer immune to harsh temperatures: even if they stand in the middle of a volcano, they won't feel like they're burning alive. It also grants pyrokinesis, but it's nowhere near as strong as Chloe or Boscha's.

The Shield of Cagnazzo lets the user walk on water as long as they wield it, and if they managed to go underwater with it, it allows them to breath no problem. The shield's also really damn sturdy: you could drop a Car on top of it and it wouldn't dent.

The Arm of Scarmiglione lets the user manipulate the ground and everything in it. It also can summon entities that gradually eat away the defenses of the enemies, but never actually kill them. Also, when Todd took the Arm, he actually assimilated it into his arm stump, just in case anybody ponders how the hell he can use it.

Finally, the Winds of Barbariccia allows the user to manipulate wind itself, plain and simple. This can take the form to manipulate wind to make it seem the user's flying, to increasing the potency of gusts of wind, to even pulling a One for All and releasing intense tornados of wind at the expense of incredible recoil and backlash.

So, yeah, the kids got some pretty damn strong upgrades. Too bad they're still beneath Chloe and Boscha. Especially Chloe.

As for Simon and Grace... they both have spears and control darkness and light, respectively. That's it.

Also, what do you think of these more Boiling Isles-focused chapters? Enjoy them? Would you rather see more Infinity Train-focused chapters? Let me know in the comments below.

Finally, Lexi in this story is supposed to be modeled after Nail Saionji from Yu-Gi-Oh SEVENS, Joey Wheeler. Though the two did meet before.

And now, to the chapter!


"A Static Passenger?!"

"Are you sure that's what they said?"

These and more questions flew to Boscha's way as she sat in the middle of the Cursed Princess Club's HQ, surrounded by the members of said club. Phos and Chris stood nearby, ready in case something happened that made things go sideways like last time.

"That's... that's Phos' Sensei said," Boscha briefly glanced at the Gem Denizen. "They told me they're a trustworthy source of information, and though I still think the Conductor themselves could give me a more clear answer..."

Boscha looked at her glitching number. "I don't... think I got any reason to doubt Sensei's words... not now, at least."

"Aw, Boscha, you poor little thing!" one of the princesses, Monika, said as she approached Boscha and grabbed her hand. "I'm so sorry you had to find out about this in such a blunt manner. Are you okay?"

~Don't tell them anything! You'll let your guard down! And when you do, they'll mock you! Insult you! Tear you apart-!

"No... no, I'm not okay..."

~Titandammit!~

"All I wanted was a chance to vent. A chance to let my emotions go wild for a moment, and then I'd focus on getting my number down," Boscha looked at her palm, and stated uneasily at her glitching number. "But Sensei said it won't go up or down no matter what I do." then, she put her hands on her head. "And if nothing I do will make it grow or shrink, then I'll never go home! And if I never go home..."

Boscha paused, forcing a pained smile as she added:

"Actually, come to think of it... maybe... maybe that wouldn't be so bad-"

And just as quickly, Calpernia covered Boscha's mouth.

"Boscha, don't even think about finishing that sentence."

Calpernia slowly uncovered Boscha's mouth, and once she did...

"But I was terrible back home. I mean, if I went missing for a long, long time... nobody... nobody would miss me but-"

"Boscha, stop thinking like this," Calpernia sighed, putting her hands on the witch's shoulders as she added. "Just because you weren't the nicest person back in your world doesn't mean you don't deserve to go home!"

"Yeah! I mean, be honest," Syrah chirped. "Can you really claim that you were the absolute worst back in your homeworld?"

Boscha didn't answer, instead diverting her focus elsewhere while remaining silent.

Seeing this, Calpernia flashed a reassuring smile, and said:

"How about we play for a little bit? Do something to help you calm your nerves?"

"You'd do that..." Boscha tilted her head. "For me?"

"We'd do that for anybody, to be honest," Syrah clarified. "But the point is that, we want to help you feel better. Again."

"We already did some potion brewing, and that was a good time," Jolie remarked. "But is there anything else we could do with you?"

Boscha hummed, scratching her chin as she tried to think of something.

"It doesn't have to be something you specifically like," Calpernia added. "Maybe there's something you wanted to do with someone back in your world? Something that would make both of you happy?"

Hearing that, Boscha gained a smile.

"Well, there's one thing I wanted to do back home, that I never got the chance to do."

Calpernia did the "I'm all ears" gesture.

And a few seconds later, the club found themselves chasing groups of ordinary butterflies, Chris generating butterfly nets for everybody to use.

"Why would a sentient crystal ball have a bunch of butterfly nets saved up inside... themselves?" Saffron pointed out.

"I like to be prepared just in case!" Chris boasted. "After all, anything can happen in Mana Academy!"

"I can imagine," Phos quipped as they grabbed a net themselves. "Anywho, why did you decide to go for butterfly catching, Boscha?"

"Well, back home, Skara loved butterflies, and she'd always take time off her schedule to go catch them," Boscha explained as she grabbed her net. "I always wanted to join her, but a part of me always convinced me not to do it."

~Because hunting those weaker than you is beneath an Apex!~

~And yet it would've been so much fun.~

~A false type of fun! The fun of the Fraud!~

Before the voices in her head could continue bickering, Boscha was grabbed by Gwen and placed on her shoulders, the goblin-like princess smiling as she wrapped Boscha's legs across her neck.

"Gwen, what are you doing?"

"I thought it would help a little," Gwen shrugged. "After all, on offense, but you're not exactly tall, you know?"

Boscha paused... then flashed a smile. "It's fine. With our powers combined, the butterflies stand no chance!"

Gwen nodded, and the duo pointed at the butterflies as they proclaimed in unison:

"Prepare, butterflies, to face the wrath of the almighty Gwenscha!"

The duo ran off soon after, leaving Phos behind to catch up.

"It feels nice to see Boscha happy for once," Chris remarked. "And not in a terrifying or smug sort of way."

"Agreed," Phos chuckled. "Well, I should go join them."

And so, Phos ran after some butterflies, leaving Chris alone to watch everyone having fun, with a wide smile on his face.


To say things had become awkward for Luz after what she saw yesterday would be... an understatement.

For starters, it had become harder for her to sleep. It was one thing to try sleep off the fact she had a girlfriend for the first time, but sleep off the fact said girlfriend brutally beat up another girl, then held an animosity with her and her friend for years to come?

Sure, you could argue Boscha deserved it, but it was still quite shocking.

But that was nothing compared to what she saw next morning: see, she had received a message from Amity, saying something about how something big came up, and she needed to go to the Blight Mansion now.

So naturally, Luz bolted to the mansion, used a glyph to reach the door to Amity's bedroom, and barged in.

"Amity, I'm here! I got your message! What's wrong?!"

Inside, Luz saw Edric and Emira hugging and comforting a crying Amity, who tried real hard to avoid seeing the human.

"Go away, Luz! I don't want you to see me like this!"

Luz blinked twice. "B-But, the message-"

"Actually, I was the one who sent it," Emira admitted sheepishly. "As soon as I saw Mittens' new look, I thought you being here could cheer her up. But it seems I was wrong."

"New look?" Luz frowned. "What new look are you talking about?"

Edric scratched his head. "Well, how do we put this-"

Suddenly, Amity slapped her brother, briefly flashing purple fingers as she did.

"Don't! Just... just don't!"

"Amity, whatever happened, you can show me and I'll see what I can do to help you," Luz replied, sporting a reassuring smile. "I'm your best friend, after all!"

"I thought you were her girlfriend," Edric remarked, earning an "are you serious?" look. "What?"

After a moment to think about it, Amity took a deep breath, and promptly turned around. While she looked mostly the same, her sclera had turned into a very dark shade of Purple, and so did her fingers, with her forearms veins visibly Purple as well.

"Oh por Dios!" Luz exclaimed, taking a step back. "I mean, it looks kinda cool, but still, oh por Dios!"

"I look horrible, I know!" Amity looked back at the mirror briefly, before turning elsewhere. "I don't even know what happened! When I went to sleep, I was perfectly normal, but as soon as I wake up, I now looked like... this!"

"She sent us messages to come check on her, and also verify if this was one of our pranks," Edric explained, rubbing his cheek. "Needless to say, we had nothing to do with this."

"That being said, this doesn't seem to be anything too bad either," Emira said while checking Amity's arms. "According to Mittens, despite the glowing veins, she doesn't feel any pain in them. It's more like a cosmetic, to be honest."

"The worst kind of cosmetic to boot!" Amity snapped before looking at her arms. "How am I supposed to go to Hexside looking like this?!"

"Well, we can conjure a glamour that'll make you look normal, at least to outsiders," Edric pointed out. "It's gonna take a lot of focus on our part, though."

"I'll help you!" Luz added, clenching her fists with a determined smile. "I know my magic's a little unorthodox, but I'm sure we can find a way to make it work!"

Emira looked at her sister. "What do you think, Mittens?"

"I trust her," Amity looked back at Luz with a little blush. "So I say it's worth a try."

Luz returned the smile, and everybody got to work.

Once done, Amity, now looking like her normal self, walked down the stairs alongside Luz and her siblings...

"Hello there, Amity."

The group stopped, and the greenette slowly, shakingly turned around until she met the source of the voice: a smug Amirani.

"What a delightful surprise to see you again!" the woman clasped her hands. "Tell me, did you sleep well?"

As soon as she could, Amity faced her parents, who stood nearby. "What's she doing here?"

"Oh, it's nothing, really!" Amirani chirped before folding her arms behind her back. "I'm just here to check up on you, Amity! After all, most entities who go in and out the Boiling Underworld tend to have... issues, for the first few days afterwards."

Amity narrowed her eyes. "Are you sure you're not here to harass us?"

"Well, maybe if this family didn't consist of nothing but weaklings," Amirani smirked. "I'd have less reason to motivate you into getting stronger."

"Motivate!?" Amity snapped, taking a step forward. "You call harassing us and slamming your superiority in our faces motivation!?"

"I mean, isn't that what most people do here on the Isles?"

Amity gritted her teeth, but a simple glare from Amirani caused her to back off.

"Now listen up, I got better things to do than humor a hopeless Weakling like yourself, so answer me this: are you, or are you not, feeling well after your visit to the Boiling Underworld?"

Amity and Amirani exchanged angry glares for a while, until Luz interjected and grabbed Amity's hand.

"We'd love to play twenty questions with you, ma'am, but we're running late for school, so see ya!"

Amity blubbered and stammered as her face turned a bright red, and the group quickly ran out of the house, Amirani watching them leave before turning back to the woman.

"Thanks a lot for taking us out of there, Luz," Amity sighed. "I swear, I was this close to giving her a piece of my mind!"

"Don't thank me yet," Luz replied. "We still have to go see one person before we head to Hexside."

Amity raised an eyebrow, then grimaced, quickly getting an idea as to who Luz was talking about.


Skara took a deep breath and focused, etching her hands forward at the inactive avian totem that was her Palisman. She closed her eyes, focused as hard as possible...

And nothing happened.

"Skara, sweetie, are you ready yet?" Warden Wrath asked from outside as he knocked the door. "You're gonna be late!"

Gasping at the time, Skara quickly hid her Palisman inside her bag, and hastily got ready for her school day.

Once done, she left her room, kissed her father on the cheek, and ran out the door, nearly crashing into Luz and the Blights in the process.

"Hi there, Skara!" Luz chirped. "Would you like to walk to school with us?"

Skara scanned the Blight siblings, raised an eyebrow at Amity, then turned back to Luz.

"What's the catch?"

Luz winced, eyed Amity, and the disgruntled greenette nodded and gave Luz the go. The Human whispered the answer to Skara, and it didn't take long before Skara walked ahead, saying:

"I figured the Urodelas would try to screw the Blights. Fine, let's talk about this while we walk."

Luz nodded with excitement and the group walked together as Skara explained:

"There's a type of dessert in the Boiling Underworld known as Abomination Pudding, which is made from mixing sugar and stuff with Abomination matter. Eating a bit of it doesn't hurt, but eating a lot risks turning the eater into a Pseudo-Abomination kinda thing. Oh, and those who are more inclined to Abomination magic find the stuff irresistible."

"Tell me there's a cure!" Amity exclaimed, grabbing and shaking Skara by the neck of her uniform. "TELL ME IT CAN BE CURED!"

Luz grabbed Amity and pulled her and Skara apart, the latter dusting herself with an exasperated expression.

"Amity, calm down! Skara's the only one we can go to when it comes to Underworld stuff; it's not a good idea to tick her off!" Luz chided, gently smacking Amity as she added. "Let me take care of this, okay?"

"Then you better hurry up, Luz," Edric sighed. "'Cause she already left without us."

Luz turned around and saw Skara bolting straight to Hexside, which was visibly in the distance.

"Wow, Skara's much faster than I thought," Luz shook her head. "But no matter, we gotta catch up!"

Luz grabbed Amity and carried her in her arms as she and Amity's siblings ran after the fleeting Skara.

It didn't take them long before they caught up to her, and when they did, they saw something... odd, at the window.

"Is that... a house of bricks?"

"It's one of the most basic Construction track creations," Emira remarked. "Whoever built it must be part of that track."

"And, actually, isn't that the Human Appreciation Society room?!"


"I'm afraid so, and what's worse is that Mattholomule made it!"

That was said by Gus, president of the Human Appreciation Society and Luz's friend, who spoke to her, Skara, and Amity at the entrance to the room.

As for Emira and Edric, they went off to their classes.

"Mattholomule?" Amity asked. "What's wrong with him?"

"He's been cooped up in the Human Appreciation Society ever since, apparently, Boscha broke up with him," Gus frowned, folding his arms as he looked angrily at the door. "I've been spending all my time trying to get through him, but nothing works!"

"Wait, Boscha and Mattholomule were a thing?!"

"It was more of a pragmatic deal than anything," Skara shrugged. "I mean, Mattholomule's part of the Construction track, which includes repairs-"

"Now it makes perfect sense."

"Is there anything we can do to get his attention?" Luz asked. "I dunno, something we can do or say to lure him out?"

"I know one thing that always works when it comes to love," Amity stated as she approached the door. "And it'll have the benefit of letting us know if Mattholomule actually likes Boscha."

"I got a bad feeling about this," Gus said, Skara and Luz nodding in agreement.

Amity took a deep breath, paused for a moment, then yelled:

"Boscha is a terrible person and she deserves nothing but scorn!"

There was no response.

"Okay, it's confirmed: he doesn't really love her," Amity rolled her eyes. "But then again, it's so obvious it doesn't need to be confirmed-"

Skara pushed Amity aside. "Amity, you and Luz go ahead to your classrooms, I'll be there in a minute."

"But you're gonna be late-"

"The number of people who care about Boscha can be counted on one hand, Luz: I gotta be there for my fellow Boscha sympathizers, even if I need to sacrifice my time to do it," Skara responded. "Now if you excuse me, I have to nurse a broken heart."

Skara entered the club, and Gus shrugged and went ahead to his classroom, leaving Amity and Luz to walk together to their classes.

"Skara really should learn how to better spend her time, huh?" Amity shrugged. "Especially considering Professor Seymour doesn't like it when his students arrive late-"

"Why are you like this?"

Amity stopped on her tracks, then turned around to see Luz standing still, her head lowered and with her fists shaking.

"I understand that you and Boscha don't get along," Luz took a deep breath. "But why must you go the extra mile to make it clear you hate her guts!? And right in front of Skara, to boot!"

"Luz, I understand you're an optimist, and you like to see the best in everyone, think that everybody has good in them," Amity narrowed her eyes. "But Boscha's the type of person everybody wants dead; can you blame me for not expecting someone could actually like her?" Amity raised her hands. "I mean, seriously, she's rude, condescending, violent, cruel-"

Luz narrowed her eyes. "And how bad was she before you beat her up?"

Hearing that, Amity flinched, and slowly glared at her girlfriend, who now sported a serious look she only very rarely wore.

A look that Amity returned in kind.

"You know, you never told me what you saw in my memories."

"Simply put, I saw the aftermath of what your parents forced you to do," Luz lowered her eyelids. "How you got angry at Boscha and decided to take your anger out on her-"

"That's not what happened at all! I mean, sure, I was angry at my parents for forcing me to end my friendship with Willow, yes, but that's not the reason I... put Boscha in her place!"

"And what's the reason?"

Amity opened her mouth, only to close it just as quickly and bite her lip.

"Now that I remember," Luz scratched her chin and raised her head. "I also saw something else: a memory that was all chained up and stuff. Skara suggested it was blocked off because of trauma-"

"And that's the reason I did all that!" Amity interjected, sweating with a nervous smile. "That memory, whatever it was, didn't give me the best impression of Boscha. A-And along with everything else, I simply had to put Boscha in her place!"

Luz, however, was in no mood to fall for her girlfriend's tricks.

"I didn't give you the best first impression either. Did you want to "put me in my place" too?"

Amity clenched her fists and lowered her head. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't... b-b-but that's different! You and Boscha are nothing alike!"

"That doesn't mean I'll approve of her being beaten up so badly. Especially given what she did next."

Amity raised an eyebrow.

"Her mother was angry. She wanted to know who hurt her daughter. And when you turned out to be the perpetrator, you dropped to your knees and begged for forgiveness."

Amity's eyes widened, her heart skipping a beat as she clutched her chest.

"And when she asked Boscha what happened, what did she do, Amity? She lied on your behalf."

Amity shook her head and avoided eye contact. "T-That's not true at all! She simply confessed how it was all her fault!"

Luz paused and scanned Amity, whose eyes glowed red and an eye-like symbol appeared on her forehead as she said that, both the symbol and glow vanishing when she caught her breath.

"What?"

Amity shook her head. "Anyway, my point is, after the horrible things Boscha's done, nobody in their right mind would want anything to do with her. And if you're going to bring up Skara, then maybe Boscha did something to her that brainwashed or tricked her into thinking staying by her side was worth it!"

Luz quickly got an idea. "That's... actually something worth finding out."

"What do you mean?"

"We know Boscha and Skara are best friends, but we don't know how they became friends, let alone how they first met," Luz folded her arms. "Maybe that's the key to figuring out if Boscha's pure evil, like everybody says she is."

"Spoiler alert, she is," Amity quipped, the eye symbol returning for a brief moment. "Anyway, I gotta go to my class. See ya."

"Same."

And with that, the duo separated.


Luz burst into the room, and saw Skara tapping her arm while staring at the construct.

"Is everything okay, Skara?"

"Yeah, just waiting for Mattholomule to get a reality check and open the building," Skara sighed as Luz walked to her side. "I don't remember the song that undoes constructions, though, so I'm just waiting for him to realize what a dumb idea this is."

"Oh, then I'll wait with you."

Luz put her arms behind her back as she began to wait alongside Skara. After a few seconds, she began tilting side to side, tapping the ground, until eventually she asked:

"So, sorry if this comes out of nowhere, but how did you and Boscha meet?"

Skara eyed Luz, then took a deep breath before taking out her flute. Not her wand-flute hybrid, just her flute.

"It's a long story, so I'll try to summarize it to the best of my ability."

Skara played a little tune, and red magic energy came out of her flute, the magic morphing into a group of entities with Skara in the middle.

"I was born as a "Nothing" in the Boiling Underworld: those born in that "caste" are effectively nothing more than livestock. They're too weak to learn how to fight, and too weak to grow strong. Letting a "Nothing" live a long life in the Underworld is considered an utter crime, as the very atmosphere of the Underworld makes their already weak bodies crack and rot. Therefore, if they're not butchered to make food for the Weak and Strong, the Titan itself forces them to rot away before childhood, so their miserable existence is a short one."

So, for a Nothing, it's either be slashed to bits and turned into food, or melt and rot away by the sheer brutality of the Titan's stomach.

Good lord, the Boiling Underworld really did suck.

"If that's what happens to the Nothings," Luz gulped. "What happens to everybody else?"

"The Weak grow progressively weaker until they reach old age, while the Strong are mostly unaffected. And speaking of the Strong..."

Skara played another tune, and another group of entities emerged... with one clearly resembling Boscha.

"Eventually, the Urodelas came to visit the slaughterhouse I was staying at-"

"Slaughterhouse?!" Luz exclaimed.

"Oh, sorry, "retirement home," Skara corrected with air quotes. "Anyway, the Urodelas decided to put Boscha to the test by grabbing a Nothing and try to turn them into a Weak. Because even that small upgrade is sometimes seen as herculean task, even for an Apex. And among all the Nothings there..."

The Boscha entity walked to the Skara entity and helped her stand up.

"She picked me," Skara blushed. "And as she trained me, she was so nice and-"

However, she paused when she saw Luz looking at the entities oddly.

"What's wrong?"

"Why does the Boscha entity only have two eyes?" Luz asked out loud. "I thought she had three?"

Skara shook her head. "That third eye's from the Salamander, which she only got after proving she was an Apex."

Luz's eyes widened, and she rubbed her head, Skara remaining calm as she finished her tune, erasing the entities before asking:

"What's up?"

"It's just... Boscha just gets harder to understand every day!" Luz answered, grabbing and taking out the letter as she spoke. "She bullies everybody, but she does it to make them strong, and yet she sometimes does it to make herself happy, and other times to make people strong and herself happy, and then she gives me a letter asking me to take the next step with Amity, all while she's in the middle of being attacked by a Mandragora that Boscha tricked her into reviving!"

Luz groaned and grumbled, lowering her head while Skara played a soothing tune. Luz took a few deep breaths, and calmed down eventually.

"Thanks, I needed that."

"No problem," Skara frowned. "Sorry if I upset you with my story."

"No, it's fine, I... kinda expected worse, to be honest."

Skara smiled obliviously. "If it makes you feel better, I omitted a lot of blood and gore."

"It doesn't. At all."

The girls shared a short laugh, eventually ending when Luz took out Boscha's letter and frowned.

"You still haven't told Amity about the letter?"

"No, I haven't," Luz sighed. "And the truth is, I don't know what to do about this."

"She has to find out eventually, you know?"

Luz and Skara faced Mattholomule, who moved some of the bricks to show his face.

"I forgot to make the house soundproof while I built it, sorry. But, my point still stands: secrets never last for long. Some last seconds, others last years, but most are eventually discovered. And if Amity's going to find out... it should be thanks to someone she trusts."

Luz smiled and nodded before bolting off to find Amity, pocketing the letter as she did.

"Wow, that..." Skara scratched her chin. "That wasn't half bad, actually. Good work, Mattholomule."

"Thanks, now if you excuse me, I'm gonna go back to moping-"

"No, wait, don't-!"


Luz hastily ran to the lockers and scanned her surroundings, eventually spotting the greenette checking her locker.

"Amity!"

The greenette turned around, and raised an eyebrow as she grabbed her book.

"Luz, where have you been? The Beastkeeping track teacher was wondering where you went."

"I was helping Skara with Mattholomule-"

"For the entire hour?!"

"A whole hour passed?" Luz shrugged. "Wow, time does fly when you're listening to highly intricate, complex character backstories-"

"Anyhow, do you need something?" Amity frowned. "I'd love to chat some more, I really would, but I need to get going to my class-"

Luz took out the letter and handed it to Amity, who read it with subdued skepticism.

"Luz, what's this?"

"It's a letter I got from Boscha before the Mandragora incident," Luz touched the letter. "And it's this very same letter that made me realize you had the hots for me!"

Amity grimaced. "But then, that would mean..."

"That Boscha's the reason we got together."

Amity glanced at Luz, then the letter, then Luz again, then the letter once more... before she narrowed her eyes and tore the letter to shreds.

"Amity, what are you doing?!"

"I'm going to my class now, and I want you to think of an apology date after school!" Amity huffed, poking Luz's nose as she added. "Have I been clear!?"

"Apology date?! Why?!"

"For playing with my feelings!"

And so, Amity stomped to her class, but not before Luz gritted her teeth and yelled:

"Amity, you'll eventually have to face the fact that Boscha's not as evil as you think she is!"

"Oh please, don't make me laugh! People like Boscha never truly change!" Amity snapped. "I mean, name one person that was once pure evil, but saw the error of their ways and changed for the better! Just one!"


Simon and Grace screamed as they tried to reel in a giant dragon, who unleashed their fire breath against a group of passengers, only for Lucy and Alex to fly by and cover them with the cloak and shield.

Once the fire dissipated, she spread the cloak and shot fireballs of her own at the dragon.

"Quick! Run while it's distracted!" Lucy stated. "We'll take it from-"

But when she turned around, she saw she was alone.

"-here? Eh, whatever, let's stay focused!"

"Now's your turn, Todd!"

The boy flashed a thumbs up, then put the Arm on the ground, weakening the floor around the dragon until it collapsed under its weight.

However, this wasn't enough to deter the beast, who spread its wings and flapped them hard enough to make the duo fall off.

Luckily, Lindsay was nearby to control the Winds so that the duo had a safe trip to the ground. And as the group reunited, they saw the dragon fly away, roaring like a raging beast.

"Well, it was worth a shot," Grace sighed. "Did the passengers leave?"

"Yeah, I saw them walk through a portal door to the next Car," Alex answered as he walked to and helped Grace stand up. "And they were pretty quick about it, too."

"That's good to know-"

And then a rock hit Grace.

"Ow!"

Another rock was aimed at her, but she swatted it away with her spear.

"Hey, whoever did that, cut it out!"

Another rock was thrown before Grace deflected it back to the source, prompting the thrower to jump out of their hiding spot.

The thrower turned out to be a girl, not much older than the young four, sporting dark skin and Black hair, while wearing a beige sweater, jeans, and sandals.

"Wait a minute," Lucy remarked, gaining a smile as she added. "Is that you, Emily?!"

The girl gritted her teeth and looked away, growling as Simon and Grace recognized her next.

"Emily... right, I remember an Emily," Simon remarked. "She had an unnatural love for the sea, right?"

"No, that was the other Emily," Grace pointed out. "This one's got a love for reptillian creatures! Including dragons!"

"And Alex just so happens to have a crush on her, too!" Lindsay confessed with a cocky smile

Alex blushed brightly and hid behind his shield, which proved to be for the best, since the girl had nothing but scorn to throw at her former group.

"I don't know what you came here to do, but you better scram before I kick you out by force!"

"Hey now, that's no way to talk to your former friends!" Lindsay growled, manipulating the Winds to make her hair blow. "Especially when those friends have superpowers now!"

Simon nonchalantly grabbed and pulled Lindsay over his shoulder, keeping her in place as he spoke:

"So, this is where you've been, Emily? What exactly have you been up to?"

"I'm the defender of this Car, and I protect it from people like you!" the girl growled. "Heartless jerks who murder Nulls for no reason whatsoever!"

"No reason?!" Todd exclaimed before pointing at the scorch marks on the ground. "That dragon nearly fried us alive!"

"You probably scared him and it breath fire to try drive you away!"

"It attacked Passengers, too!" Simon added.

"They probably took a page from your book and pestered them," Emily folded her arms and narrowed her eyes. "Now listen, I got a lot of clean up to do, so for everybody's sake, just go away already!"

"Okay, fine, we'll leave," Grace sighed. "Just one more question: how did you manage to erase the Apex sign from your face?"

"The water on this Car can erase it with relative ease: just walk near a pond, grab some water, then shove it on your face. There, I told you what you wanted, now scram! Oh, and Alex?"

The boy came out of hiding.

"It's never gonna happen: not now, not ever."

And with that, both groups separated: Emily started to clean the scorch marks left behind, while the remnants of the Apex headed for the nearest pond they could find.

Along the way, Lucy went to Alex's side and kissed his cheek, rubbing his hair as she said:

"It's okay, you'll find someone eventually."

Alex blushed. "Thanks, Lucy."

"Heartless jerks like you", well, news flash Emily: you were part of the heartless jerks once, too!" Lindsay growled. "Also, Simon, could you please put me down?"

"Do you promise not to go and cause any more trouble?"

"She insulted us and threw rocks at Grace! She needs a beating at the very least!"

"Lindsay, no fighting," Grace stated. "I know it's tempting, but we're not gonna get anywhere throwing fists."

"Ugh, fine!" Lindsay folded her arms and pouted. "I'm not gonna give her a well-deserved beating."

After thinking about it for a moment, Simon put Lindsay down, just in time for the group to reach the pond.

Simon crouched down, grabbed some water, and spread it across his face, wiping away the mark he had kept ever since he and Grace started the Apex.

"Emily was very rude, but she had a point: we're not the Apex anymore. We're something else entirely."

"And if we want people to understand that," Grace said as she crouched down to the pond. "We have to erase our last ties to our identity as the Apex."

Grace promptly grabbed some water and spread it across her face.

The children followed soon after: Lucy grabbed some water and splashed her face, Todd took a deep breath and shoved his face into the pond, and Alex looked uneasily at the water before Lindsay grabbed some water and splashed him with it, prompting him to return the favor.

Once everybody had washed away the marks, Lindsay used the Winds to dry everybody up, before using them to fly once again.

"You know you could just walk, right?" Alex pointed out.

"Hey, you can walk on water, and I can fly, deal with it," Lindsay said as she put her arms behind her head. "Anyway, what are we gonna call our group?"

"Oh, I have an idea!" Lucy chirped. "I've had it since I realized the Archfiends were a thing: Apex Fantasy!"

"Hmm, it has a nice ring to it!" Todd remarked. "I like it!"

"However, we can't use anything that includes "Apex" in it," Simon pointed out. "That'll only make people see us as the Apex, and nothing else."

"Hmm, well, we could use a different word," Grace suggested and snapped her fingers. "How about Zenith Fantasy? It's pretty much the same thing, it just sounds nicer."

Everybody else agreed immediately.

"Then it's settled!" Grace put a hand on her hip and raised her spear. "From this day forward, we are..."

Simon raised his spear, while everybody else raised their fists and exclaimed in unison:

"Zenith Fantasy!"


Back inside the CPC HQ, Boscha let out a moan of pure bliss as she ate a cupcake delivered by Gwen, who sat next to Boscha with a little smile.

"Gwen, your sweets are always the best!" she cooed. "How do you make them so good?!"

"I add love to the mix," Gwen giggled and rubbed Boscha's hair. "Lots and lots of love."

Boscha could only blush and giggle as the rest of the club-and Phos and Chris-sat around in a circle, Calpernia being the first to speak:

"So, Boscha, do you feel better now?"

"Yeah, a whole lot better," Boscha nodded. "And, uh... thanks."

Calpernia smiled warmly. "Your welcome. As long as you're happy, we're happy."

"And also, don't try to destroy the Car again," Saffron added. "We'd really appreciate it if you didn't go that far again."

"Actually, now that he brings it up, you didn't react that much when I threatened the Car, but the others did," Boscha pointed out, facing Calpernia. "Be honest, how often does the Car get endangered?"

"Uff, when does it not?" Syrah blurted. "Just last month, the Car got threatened seven times, and one of those was from some girl called Chloe, who threatened with caving our heads in with her pipe if we called her princess."

"She also wouldn't stop calling it a donut holer," Monika added. "Like, who even calls it that?"

"It's probably some fad from another Car," Syrah said, waving her hand dismissively. "Anyway, I think we should play one more game before the Ruby Sulphur Trio continue their journey! And I know which one!"

Syrah reached for her back and took out an empty bottle.

"Spin the bottle!"

"Hmm, that... could be fun," Aurelia remarked. "For you, I mean. I can't really play it."

"I've never heard of this game before," Boscha turned to her Denizen companions. "What is it about?"

Phos and Chris shrugged in unison.

"Oh, trust me, you'll find out soon enough!" Syrah giggled with a cheeky smile. "Anyway, just spin the bottle to begin."

Boscha pointed at herself, and the pointy-nosed princess nodded. Boscha promptly obliged, waiting in anticipation alongside everyone as the bottle spun for a few seconds...

And pointed at Gwen, causing the girls to gasp and giggle as the green-skinned princess blushed.

"Ohohoho, this oughta be good!" Syrah said, shaking her fists up and down. "Okay, Boscha, now kiss her!"

Boscha turned to Gwen, and gave her a quick peck on the cheek, causing her to flinch and giggle.

"Like that?"

"Not exactly," Gwen sighed. "She means more like... this..."

Gwen faced Boscha, leaned closer to her face, and planted a kiss on her lips, which was received with thunderous gasps and applauds from the princesses.

Once it finished and the duo separated, Gwen was quick to ask:

"So, did you get it?"

But Boscha didn't answer. Instead, her eyes remained focused on Gwen, her cheeks blushing bright red as her eyes gained a notable glimmer.

"Boscha?"

"Uh oh, you better look out Gwen!" Syrah said with a joking tone. "Looks like somebody's getting a crush on you!"

Hearing that, Boscha returned to reality and lunged at Syrah.

"NO I'M NOT!"

"GAH! CALM DOWN, BOSCHA, I WAS JUST KIDDING!"

Syrah's nose became pointier, and at that point, she ran in circles as Boscha chased her, the princesses and other members of the Ruby Sulphur Trio laughed at the scene.

A fact they would soon be grateful for, since things were about to get serious...

Chapter Text

And here we have Chapter 11! With the added achievement that is the fact this story has reached over a thousand views!

Oh sure, my other stories have reached that much views too, but I never thought people would actually stop to take a look at this story, when Blossoming Trail is perfectly available right around the corner.

Speaking of Blossoming Trail, I decided to write a few one-shots focusing on AUs for that story: focusing on either Yeardley (Withering Roots), Akemi (Thorn Apart), and Talia (Artist of Yggdrasil). I'd really like it if you could give them a look, because I honestly feel like these one-shots are an interesting look into what could have been.

Anyway, one very important thing I should point out is that, after this chapter comes the big one. The one thing you've all been waiting for.

Ruby Sulphur Trio, versus Red Lotus Trio, versus Zenith Fantasy.

It's gonna be wild.

After that, things are gonna change, but we might take a break. Might, because I really love working on this story, I just can't help myself XD

Anyhow, let's get going to the chapter. This is, again, a mostly Boiling Isles-focused chapter, but we do get some scenes on the Infinity Train.

Final reminder: this story's got a Tv Tropes page, and a recently added WMG page. So, if you got a crazy theory, don't be shy to share it. ;)

And some fanart would be nice too, but I'd be stretching it by then.

Enough talk! Let's rumble!


The Ruby Sulphur Trio went through a portal and landed in the middle of some kind of control room. You could tell that's what it was for the dozens of screens showing Passengers and their numbers and a tiny robot checking said screens.

"How the hell did we get here?" was all Boscha could say before the group was spotted.

"Oh, greetings! Welcome to the Engine Room!" the robot chirped. "I don't get many visitors, so I'm glad you could come by!"

Boscha narrowed her eyes. "And you are?"

"I'm One-One, the Conductor of this Train!" the robot answered before sulking. "And I'm Sad-One, and I'm sad we couldn't meet sonner." then it hopped up and waved its tiny robot legs. "And I'm Glad-One, and I'm happy we got to meet at last!"

"Okay, I'm officially creeped out," Boscha stomped to One-One and revealed her static number. "Alright, listen up ball robot: Phos' Sensei told me I'm a Static Passenger. You're the Conductor, so you must know about those type of people, so tell me how to get my number working again!"

One-One scanned the number, literally, then turned back to Boscha.

"There's nothing wrong with your number."

"What do you mean there's nothing wrong with it!? Don't you see the static?!"

"What he means, is that the number isn't the problem," Sad-One explained. "It's your mind."

Boscha narrowed her eyes as the robot explained:

"A Passenger's number is tied directly to their brain; if you were to go comatose, you'd lose your number. And if you woke up afterwards, it would return. But if you don't wish to change... don't try to change... then the number won't change either."

"How does that make sense!?" Boscha snapped, slamming her fist down a control panel. "I've been doing everything to try get my number to go lower! I want to go home!"

"But you want to maintain your toxic mentality."

Boscha gritted her teeth. "I'm perfect just the way I am!"

"And yet you're stuck here, in the Infinity Train, unwilling to change, and unwilling to see your own faults. You'll try everything, but no matter what you do, you'll never change yourself. And thus, you'll never better yourself. You'll never learn your lesson. You'll never leave the Train. You'll never see your family again. You'll never see your friends again-"

Seemingly terrified of the tangent, Boscha ran into an opening portal, Phos and Chris following closely behind. The door closed soon after, leaving One-One to resume control and see the broken panel.

"Oh my, that sure needs fixing," the robot touched a button. "Hello, Amelia, I know you're busy securing the Miraculous, but could you come to the Engine Room to fix something quick?"

"Ugh, fine, what happened this time?"

One-One paused. "I may or may not have accidentally upset the Lion of Cremation-"

"YOU WHAT?!"


Skara had no idea what she was doing in the Detention track... actually, okay, that was a lie, she knew the reason why: the very same "tentacles in a bag" prank that Boscha boasted about?

Turns out, they were eventually traced back to the group. Oops.

What she actually didn't know was why was she the only one of the posse who was sent there. Sure, the posse had disbanded, but that couldn't be the only reason why they got away with a stern talking to, while she was sent to detention.

At the very least, it gave her more time to focus on unlocking her Palisman, a goal she was nowhere near close to accomplishing from the looks of it.

"Ugh, damn it!" she growled, grabbing and pulling her hair. "This shouldn't be so hard! Why can't I unlock this stupid Palisman?!"

A loud snore startled Skara, but fortunately for her, the Detention track teacher was still fast asleep.

Sighing in relief, Skara caught her breath and calmed down before attempting something:

She drew a flickering circle in the air, with it staying in place for a few seconds afterwards, before dissipating into nothing.

"Okay, so, I can at least do that much," Skara looked back at her Palisman. "Is it not enough? Or am I doing something wrong?"

Suddenly, the board opened up, revealing three students with uniforms that had two colors, rather than a single one.

"There she is!" said the tall guy as he summoned some vines.

Skara was wrapped by the vines, and taken straight to the passage, which the students closed as the detention teacher snapped awake... only to mumble something and go right back to sleep.

Back with Skara, she was dropped on the ground of what looked like a hub of doors to other sides of the school, which quickly caught her attention...

And caused her to receive stern glares from the trio who took her here.

"W-Wait, it's fine!" Skara cried. "If you're worried I'll do something to get you in trouble, I won't! I'm nothing like Boscha, I promise!"

"You threw a tentacle balloon at my house!" Jerbo, the tall guy, snapped.

Skara blushed and looked elsewhere. "Is it fine if I say I was just following her lead?"

Jerbo reached for his back, took out a jar filled with green matter, then opened and dumped it on the ground.

"Well, that's straight up rude."

Soon after, he drew a circle, and the matter transformed into a botanical variation of an Abomination.

"And that's straight up terrifying!"

Suddenly, Barcus, the dog-like student, barked and got in between the Abomination and Skara, growling at the beast as Jerbo raised an eyebrow.

"Barcus, what are you doing? She needs to learn not to throw tentacle monsters at people's house again!"

"I won't do it ever again, I promise!" Skara hastily spoke. "J-Just, tell me what I need to do in order to prove to you that I'm not mean like Boscha!"

"Then you can help us with something, can't you?" Viney lowered her eyelids. "After all, Boscha never helped us with anything before."

"S-Sure, that's fine!" Skara clasped her hands. "As long as it's nothing illegal!"

Viney smirked.

"It's something illegal, isn't it?"

Viney whistled, and one of the doors in the room opened, allowing a griffin to hop right to her side.

"This is my griffin companion, Puddles," Viney explained while scratching the griffin's head. "They're one of my closest, most valuable companions. And if anything were to happen to them, I would kill everybody in this room, and then myself."

Jerbo took a step away from Viney.

"Cool, I've never seen a griffin up close before," Skara raised an eyebrow. "But why are you introducing them?"

"Well, the thing I need your help with is related to Puddles," Viney narrowed her eyes. "You see, your little friend, Boscha, took them for a joy ride and... well..."

Puddles turned around, and revealed a ser of sun-shaped burn marks, causing Skara to shriek.

"I think this explains it."

Skara took a closer look at the marks, and after gently touching them, she sighed wearily.

"Yeah, Boscha made these alright. But wait, didn't Luz convince Principal Bump to put you on both the Healing and Beastkeeping Tracks? Couldn't you make something to fix them?"

"You think I haven't tried?!" Viney rubbed Puddles' head. "I've checked most of the medical procedures and potions, but none of them have managed to get rid of the marks!"

"Don't take this the wrong way, but you know Boscha better than we do," Jerbo spoke. "So, do you know if there's a way to heal the burn marks she made?"

Skara hummed for a moment, then snapped her fingers.

"There's a type of healing potion that can heal anything, even damage done by the Salamander, but I'd need to go to the Black Market to get the ingredients-"

"Then go."

"I can't just go there! The Black Market is a gathering of the worst scum in the Titan's body, Isles or Underworld alike! It's way too risky!" Skara grabbed her arm and looked elsewhere. "Besides, I'm not really supposed to go back to the Boiling Underworld. Like ever."

Jerbo raised an eyebrow. "Why? Did you do something bad?"

Skara grabbed her arm and looked elsewhere. "Let's just say that people in my rank don't have the best lot in life."

"Well, just put on a hood and grab as many of the ingredients as you can!" Viney stated. "You're one of the few students who comes from the Boiling Underworld, shouldn't that mean you know how to travel through it?"

"I mean, I do-"

"Then what are you waiting for? Go get the ingredients!"

"Hmm, I'd need somebody to make the base potion while I go do that," Skara snapped her fingers. "And I think I know who to ask! Do any of the doors here lead to the Potions classroom?"

"Yeah, the one with a yellow potion drawn on it."

Skara looked around until she found the door, and promptly approached it.

"Oh, and one more thing, girl-"

"My name's Skara."

"Yeah, whatever: don't tell anybody about this, okay?" Viney folded her arms and narrowed her eyes. "And if you snitch on us, then you're really no better than Boscha."

Jerbo and Barcus exchanged baffled looks, while Skara smiled nervously as she went through the door.

"D-Duly noted..."

With that said, Skara left the room and immediately ran to go find the person she was looking for: the Potions student who has a literal eye for a head, Eileen.

"Eileen!"

The cyclops stopped and turned around, mumbling something as Skara reached her.

"I need your help with something!"

Skara whispered what she needed to Eileen, who flinched and backed away while mumbling again.

"I know it's dangerous, but it's totally worth it!"

Eileen frowned and lowered her head.

"Eileen, please, I need your help with this!"

Eileen, looking visibly worried, shook her head while mumbling something.

"I just... I'm only good at playing a flute: I can't brew potions to save my life, and I really need this one to be made!"

Skara grabbed the cyclop's hands and looked at her with puppy dog eyes.

"I know I'm asking too much, but I swear I'll pay you back! Just please, make the potion for me! I'll do the rest!"

Eileen stared at Skara's eyes for a moment, and eventually, she nodded, earning a hug from the Bard.

"Thank you, Eileen, you're the best!" Skara separated from the cyclops and began hopping up and down. "Okay, I'm gonna go get the ingredients! You get started on the potion!"

Skara bolted off, and crashed into Amity and Luz, though she quickly managed to regain her balance.

"Hey, watch where you're going!" Amity snapped.

"What's the rush, Skara?" Luz asked.

"Hi girls! Sorry, but I can't talk! I need to get going while I still can!"

So Skara kept running until she left the school, leaving the girlfriends to exchange looks and ponder what just happened...

Until Luz got an idea and grabbed Amity's hand.

"Follow me."


Boscha sat down in the middle of a giant library, taking several deep breaths while Phos and Chris looked at her with worry.

"Boscha, it's okay, we'll find a way to get your number down eventually-"

"Don't lie to me, Phos! You heard the Conductor himself! I'm hopeless!"

"No, you're Static," Chris clarified. "Both the Static and the Hopeless Passengers might sound similar, but they're quite different-"

"The point is!" Boscha showed her companions her glitching number. "This number's proof that no matter what I do, I'm gonna be trapped on this stupid Train forever! Like, what am I supposed to do?!"

"Well, moping won't help you."

The Ruby Sulphur Trio turned around, and saw a large humanoid Denizen walk up to them, arms folded behind his back while sporting a friendly smile.

"Greetings, Lion of Cremation. I'm Titus, the caretaker of this Car. I got to say, I'm quite surprised you'd pay my realm a visit."

"I came here by complete chance, okay?!" Boscha growled, slamming her fist against the table. "I just wanted to go somewhere far away from that stupid ball robot, and this is the first place I reached!"

Titus hummed. "Well, while you're here, I'd like to make use of your services."

Boscha raised an eyebrow, but before she could ask, she found herself walking deeper into the library with Titus, Chris and Phos staying behind to read some more.

"So, Boscha... you got spellbooks in your world, right?"

"Yup, and oh boy, where do I begin?" Boscha folded her arms and rolled her eyes. "There's potion lists, compendiums of magical creatures, a glossary of curses-"

"Anyhow, your world has spellbooks," Titus interjected. "Which means, you're probably familiar with dark magic, right?"

Boscha lowered her head. "There are several types of magic that are illegal to study and apply without getting permission from the Emperor's Coven: Astral Magic, Life Magic, Mind Magic-"

"And so on and so forth, I imagine. See, Boscha, I bring this up because, by knowing about the dark arts, you should also know about the danger they hold, right?"

Boscha's eyes widened. "Don't tell me you got books about the dark arts."

Titus remained silent until he and Boscha reached a peculiar door: this one was black and surrounded by an eerie aura.

"Boscha Urodela, allow me to show you..."

Titus opened the door.

"The section of forbidden knowledge."

Inside the room were dozens of bookshelves, with books flying around while cackling like supervillains.

"Heya, I'm the Cloning book! Wanna read me and find out how to clone yourself?!"

"No! Read me! If you look at my contents I, the Necronomicon, will bring back your loved ones... at a price!"

"As you can see, this section of Azada is filled with shady books with the most unholy of intentions," Titus spoke, driving the books away with a wave of his hand. "It grows every day, and the knowledge held within is so dangerous it has to be cleansed every once in a while."

Boscha raised an eyebrow and turned to the king of Azada. "And that's where I come in?"

"One of the books here, Ars Goetia, was taken by a friend of my son, who desired the power to control demons, and another one, the Cloning book, was used by the former Conductor against my knowledge," Titus explained. "Unfortunately, that caused an upheaval in the section, and now, each of the books present here want to leave to spread their forbidden knowledge to the Passengers."

Titus crouched down and put a hand on Boscha's shoulder. "In truth, I detest having to ask for help, but the content of these books is genuinely too dangerous to be allowed free. Furthermore, nobody who's come here before has expressed an interest in helping me, and I can't wipe them out myself."

Titus grabbed Boscha's hand. "I know this is a lot to ask, but please, incinerate these books for me."

Boscha looked stunned by the request, but all she had to do was look at the books' shady aura to agree with the king's statement.

So, without saying a word, she created a fireball, causing the books to freeze and gasp moments before she threw it...


If there was one word Skara could use to describe how she felt right now, it would be mortified.

Sure, it wasn't the first time she had returned to the Boiling Underworld, but every previous time, she had at least returned with Warden Wrath by her side, so she was safe... for the most part.

But now? She was completely alone, in the literal belly of the beast, and walking alongside the monsters and weirdos that inhabitted the Titan's guts. At the very least she had her whole being hidden in a cloak, so it's not like she was walking on her birthday suit.

Still, she minded her surroundings very much as she scanned the stands in the Black Market, until she spotted the one she was looking for: one ran by a very familiar fairy.

"Come one, come all! Come get your medicinal herbs here!"

"Do you have some Panacea?"

The fairy turned around, seemingly delighted to have a costumer... only to groan when she saw who it was.

"What are you doing here?! Didn't your father pester me enough?!"

"Don't worry, Plum, I'm not here to snitch on you... yet. I just need you to give me something for a potion."

The fairy rolled her eyes. "What kind of potion?"

Skara looked around the scum walking alongside the meaty ground of the Underworld, then leaned forward and whispered:

"A potion to heal burns left by the flames of the Salamander."

The fairy's eyes widened, and she quickly whispered back:

"Do you have any idea how potent that thing's flames are?! If anything got burned by it, it's either dead, or about to die!"

"Well, they were done by Boscha. You know, the daughter of the Urodelas?"

"Ugh, I guess she's a bit more restrained than that beast." the fairy sighed. "But I can't just hand over the thing you want. It's a very rare and very expensive herb, I highly doubt somebody of your standing can afford it."

Skara smirked. "Well then, how about we make a deal? You give me the herb, and I won't let my Dad know about your latest fanfiction."

The fairy blushed brightly. "You read it?!"

"Oh yeah, from beginning to end... of the latest chapter, anyway," Skara clasped her hands. "My favorite part was when the apple and the pear-"

"Don't. Please. I... I'll give you the herb. But the herb alone won't do it, you're gonna need a feather from the creature you want to heal."

"Sounds easy enough."

The fairy grumbled, and took out a green herb that she handed the girl.

"Pleasure making business with you, Plum."

"My name's not Plum!"


Once back at Hexside, Skara returned to Eileen, who was finishing making the base of the potion on a cauldron.

Once the mix was almost done, Skara went closer and put both the herb and the feather on the mix, turning it Purple as Eileen flashed a thumbs up.

Once the mix was put on a potion beaker, Skara closed it and took it.

"Thanks a lot, Eileen, I really owe you one," Skara said. "Anyway, I should get going before the teacher wakes up-"

Eileen mumbled something, and it caught Skara's attention as the mumbling continued, the cyclops looking legitimately worried as she mumbled.

"Side effects? Oh, don't worry Eileen, I'm gonna give this to an actual Griffin," Skara said, waving her hand dismissively. "I mean, it's not like I'm gonna run into trouble and be forced to drink it."

And as soon as she opened the door, Principal Bump was outside with the Potions teacher.

Damn Skara and her big mouth.

"Skara? What are you doing here? You're not part of the Potions track."

"Oh, I'm not? I hang around Boscha so often I forget that little detail every once in a while," Skara laughed nervously as she skimmed through the students and teachers. "Well, I should probably get going back to detention before-"

"Is that a potion you got there?"

Skara froze in place, sweat bullets as she turned around... then pointed and yelled:

"Look! A distraction!"

Skara bolted off... while everybody stood in place, the teachers looking rather disappointed at the cheap trick.

"Has that ever worked before?"

Bump shook his head. "Not in my experience."

As for Skara, she kept running around the hallways, running past several students until she wound up running into Principal Bump, and his illusions.

She tried to run to the other side, but more illusions appeared, until Skara found herself being cornered against a wall.

"Skara, listen, I know you're afraid, but there's nowhere else to run!" Bump stated as he took a few steps forward. "And besides, you should know better than to meddle with potions! I know Boscha's great at potions, but she's no teacher!"

"I-I know, but this isn't for me, it's for-"

And if you snitch on us, then you're really no better than Boscha!

Skara bit her lips, tears forming at the corners of her eyes as she backed away... and got an idea.

"Actually... it is for me."

Skara opened the potion and gulped down its contents, stunning everybody while horrifying the Principal...

But then she one-upped herself by opening her eyes, and revealing they were like a pidgeon... no, like a griffin's...


"YOU DID WHAT?!"

Viney rolled her eyes while Barcus and Jerbo lowered their heads with regret. They were currently talking with a visibly upset Luz, with Amity standing right beside her.

"So, let me get this straight," Luz spoke, her anger barely hidden in her tone. "First, you take Skara out of detention just so you can intimidate her up in private, and then, you take advantage of her desire to make friends to risk her academic career just to heal Puddles?"

"Puddles means everything to me!" Viney snapped, her fists shaking as she added, "And yet Boscha just casually snatches him and then burns him for a joy ride; she didn't even apologize for it!"

"And that's reason enough to send Skara after a potentially dangerous potion?!"

"She would've done it anyway!" Viney growled. "Anything to make sure Boscha didn't have to pay for anything!"

"Viney, how about you let me talk?" Jerbo asked, Barcus nodding in agreement. "Maybe I can stop this from escalating into a brawl?"

Viney rolled her eyes and walked back to Puddles, comforting the griffin as Jerbo turned to Luz.

"What did Viney mean by Skara doing it anyway?"

"Don't act like you don't know about it, Luz; everybody at Hexside who's seen the two long enough know that Boscha never apologizes, so Skara does it for her. Although, if you really didn't know, that's fine, but most people do know about that."

Luz faced Amity. "Including you?"

"Hey, let's stay focused here," Amity stated before facing Viney. "What potion did you have Skara make?"

"I asked her if there was anything that could heal burn marks made by Boscha, and she said there was one such potion," Viney lowered her eyelids. "However, she'd need to go to the Black Market, the one in the Boiling Underworld that is, to get the ingredients."

"And then what happened?" Luz asked.

Viney furrowed her brow, her glare intensifying.

"Viney, what happened!?"

"I don't know, okay!? We haven't heard from her since!"

"Hmm, Skara knows her way around the Boiling Underworld, so it's unlikely that she got into trouble," Amity remarked, scratching her chin in thought. "But she should've returned to Hexside at some point. Did you look for her?"

Barcus... barked, and pushed a crystal ball into view, pointing at it as Viney realized something:

"Oh, I guess we could've used Barcus' Oracle magic to see how Skara would do, huh?"

Amity and Luz glared at Viney, but before they could add anything, they heard horrified screams coming from the hallways.

With a whistle, Viney summoned Puddles, and the group promptly ran to the source of the scream.

Once they arrived, they saw a hallway covered in webs, with some of the students and even Principal Bump tied up on the walls and the ceiling.

"What the hell happened here?" Amity asked.

"I might know," Viney remarked. "These webbings are the same type as the one a griffin like Puddles shoots. So, maybe some griffin ran into the school-"

"It was no griffin." Principal Bump said, getting the group's attention. "It was Skara."

"Skara?" Luz asked in disbelief. "But how's that even possible?"

"I found her making a potion with a Potions track student, and chased after her," Bump explained, sending a chill down Viney's spine. "When I cornered her, she opened and drank the potion. Next thing I know, she envelops the hallway and those around it in webs, and hunts down some students who ran away."

"Wait, she... she drank the potion?!" Viney exclaimed, rubbing her head as she tried to process the revelation. "But why would she do something so stupid?!"

"Oh I don't know," Amity glared at Viney. "Maybe because you intimidated her into having little choice!?"

"But Boscha would've snitched on us to save her skin-"

"SKARA ISN'T BOSCHA!" Luz and Amity yelled in unison.

And as if on cue, she arrived. Skara, getting on all four, and with a pair of avian wings on her back, and a long tail.

But that wasn't all, for when she raised her head, she revealed the same griffin eyes from before, and sharper teeth, which she used for enhanced intimidation as she growled at the group.

"Skara?" Amity inquired. "Is that you?"

Skara hissed and tried to bite Amity when she got too close.

"Don't make any sudden movements or loud noises," Viney whispered as she got off Puddles. "That'll scare her, and she'll run away."

Hearing that, Luz took a deep breath, and walked slowly as Skara readied her stance, growling vividly.

"Skara, is that you? It's me, Luz. Remember?"

The transformed student looked at Luz with shock, and after a brief glimpse of shame in her face, she shrieked and covered herself with her wings.

"Skara, wait, it's me! Luz!" the human said. "Don't you recognize me?!"

"She's not cowering because she doesn't recognize you," Viney frowned. "She does, and she's ashamed!"

Amity frowned with sympathy. "Ashamed?"

"Skara, you don't need to feel ashamed of yourself," Luz said as she approached the griffin humanoid. "I understand what happened: Viney was angry at Boscha and she used you to try make herself feel better!"

Viney frowned, the consequences of her actions finally registering.

"Listen, I know you're scared, but trust me, we're not here to hurt you. I assure you, if you just lend me your hand, I can help you!"

Skara lowered her wings slightly, and shot a puppy dog-eyed look at Luz, who frowned at the sight. However, she retracted them eventually and crawled towards the human before reaching for her hand...

And then a rock hit her head, prompting her to block the next ones with her wings.

"What the heck?!"

Luz turned around, and saw a few students standing nearby with their teachers stopping them from getting any closer, except for two familiar girls:

Cat and Amelia.

"What are you doing?!"

"Typical monster protocol!" Cat said as she grabbed another rock with a smirk. "You throw rocks at it until they leave!"

The girls threw some more rocks, and in an instant, they were swatted by none other than a suddenly appearing Eda.

"Still using rocks to deter monsters?" she asked with a bemused tone. "If it didn't work back then, what makes you think it'll work now?"

"Eda Ex Machina for the win!" Luz chirped. "But how did you know we'd need your help?!"

"I sensed a kindred soul being tortured for being different from everybody else, and I just couldn't stand still and let them be bullied!" Eda proclaimed with a dramatic voice, before taking out a scroll. "Also, there's a Penstagram post about this and I just had to check it out."

Eda took out a scroll, showing a post of one student smiling for a selfie, while Skara paused her webbing of them to look at the camera in confusion.

"This has nothing to do with you, Owl Lady!" Amelia snapped, her arm trembling as she prepared another rock. "Step aside and let us do our job!"

"Cat! Amelia! Now's not the time!" Bump snapped. "Get out of here before you anger the false griffin!"

"Oh please, what's she gonna do?" Cat asked mockingly. "Maul us alive?"

"Yeah, there's a beastkeeper student here, and the Owl Lady's nowhere near as strong as she used to be!" Amelia added as she unknowingly lowered her arm and began avoiding eye contact. "With enough rocks, we'll drive that monster away!"

Skara prepared for another pair of rocks to get thrown at her face, but Viney hopped in front of her and spread her arms.

"Stop throwing rocks at her! Throw them at me!"

Everybody raised an eyebrow, with Skara tilting her head.

"Guys, what's she doing?" Amity asked Jerbo.

"She's about to get melodramatic," Jerbo answered, Barcus nodding in agreement.

"But why, though?" Amelia asked, silently relieved. "You're not a monster."

"Maybe not, but I'm the reason she turned into the beast you see right now!" Viney turned to Skara and frowned. "I was so caught up in my hatred of Boscha that I decided to take it out on her best friend! I made her believe that if she didn't do what I wanted, then she really was no better than Boscha! And things went out of control, and turned her into this!"

Viney frowned and lowered her head.

"But now, I see that it wasn't right. Condemning her for something Boscha did to me didn't fix anything. I refused to see her as anything other than an extension of her best friend, which I realize just now is utterly bonkers!"

Viney faced Skara, who raised an eyebrow as she spoke:

"Because even if she had snitched on us... even if she had refused to help us... that wouldn't really make her just as bad Boscha. Because she doesn't go around burning people alive, or putting heads under her heel, or demeaning everybody around her. She's nice, kind, generous, and thoughtful... maybe too much for her own good. I mean, for crying out loud, I strong armed Jerbo and Barcus into kidnapping her while she was on Detention just to intimidate her into healing Puddles' wounds, and not only did she go through with it, but she never even tried to snitch on us with Principal Bump!"

"And you're so going back to Detention after this!" Bump growled.

"But the point is, even after what we did, she chose to help us... which makes her much better than Boscha could ever be."

Skara blushed while Barcus licked her face and Jerbo patted her head.

"Okay, I think that's enough, Viney," Luz said, before Amity scribbling on a notepad caught her attention. "Amity, what are you doing?"

"I'm taking notes," the greenette answered, eyes glued to the notepad. "Viney might be melodramatic, but she sure's got a way with words."

"So yeah, I might not be a monster, but I turned someone else into a monster. And that's-"

A rock suddenly hit Viney. "Ouch! Hey, I wasn't even finished with my monologue!"

"Nobody cares: it was way too long and melodramatic," Cat said as she readied another rock. "And that's rock worthy on its own!"

The duo prepared to throw rocks again, but Skara quickly howled the rocks off their hands, growling as she and Puddles stood in front of Viney.

Cat and Amelia got the message afterwards, and ran away.

With that done, Skara began scratching her ear with her head while Amity asked the obvious:

"So, is this gonna be permanent?"

"Nah, the transformation's temporary," Eda began caressing Skara's hair. "But your friend here will still have some griffin traits for the rest of her life. Speaking from experience."

Eda coughed up a rat, which ran right into Skara's grasp, the pseudo-griffin licking her lips as she lifted it.

"No!" Eda slapped the rat away. "Bad Skara, bad!"

Skara whimpered like a puppy and crouched down, only pausing when Viney approached her and said:

"I'm... sorry, about what I made you do. I don't know if you'll ever forgive me, but, I wanted to let you know, I regret what I did."

"And I'd like to let you know that there's still people and hallways covered in web!" Bump exclaimed. "Could somebody get us down already?!"

"Ah, stop your yapping, I was about to do that!" Eda said back. "Come on, help me get everybody out."

Everybody nodded and began working on the webs, with Viney helping Skara stand back up on her legs, and helping her walk around while Skara flashed a smile...


Meanwhile, back with the Ruby Sulphur Trio, they walked through a door that lead directly into a giant grassfield with a heavenly light bathing the Car.

"So, this is the fabled Paradise Lost Car," Boscha remarked as she scanned her surroundings. "So vast, so serene, so peaceful..."

Then, in a move totally unlike herself, Boscha sat on the grassy ground, and stretched before laying on top of it.

"And it feels so good to rest here, too..."

"Conveniently, there doesn't seem to be any Denizens or Passengers around here," Chris remarked. "That means even if you destroy the Car, you won't kill anybody."

"I'd rather have Boscha not destroy anything," Phos sighed. "But I know how she works, so it's pointless to argue-"

"The psycho?!"

The trio turned around, and saw a gathering of familiar faces standing nearby, looking horrified as they prepared for a potential fight.

At least, the faces were familiar to Phos and Chris. Boscha...

"Do I know you?"

Lucy's eyes widened. "We fought against you and you left us in shambles!"

"I've left several people in shambles," Boscha pointed out as she stood up and dusted herself. "What makes you so special?"

"Ka... Me...!"

Boscha flinched and looked around. "Hey, did you hear that?"

"Actually, I did," Simon scanned his surroundings. "But where's it coming from?"

"Ha... Me...!"

"It sounds familiar somehow," Phos narrowed her eyes. "But I don't know why."

"Call me crazy," Lindsay uttered. "But that sounds like a prelude to several hours worth of martial arts and screaming."

"HAAAAAAA!"

Suddenly, a beam of pink energy nearly struck the trio and Zenith Fantasy, both groups jumping away before they were struck.

Soon after, they turned around, and saw a redheaded girl, Blonde boy, and crowned corgi pulling a pose as if they were about to fire a hadoken... with an annoyed Peacock next to them.

"Chloe, I insist," Peacock growled. "You should finish your training before you even think of challenging anybody-"

"And I insist, Peacock, that this is the best time to hit two Spearows with one Poké Ball!" Chloe responded. "I'll be done fast enough to continue my training as if nothing happened, trust me!"

"Fine, Chloe, I trust you."

Peacock walked through a door out of the Car, muttering "I trust you to make a fool of yourself" as she left.

"Alright then, let's do this!" Chloe stated as she cracked her fists. "It's time to put an end to your reign of terror, Boscha Urodela!"

"You... seem familiar," Boscha scratched her chin. "Have we met before?"

"I'm sure you've heard about me: I'm Chloe of the Vermillion, heroine of the Infinity Train!" Chloe proudly boasted before pointing at her. "And I'm gonna put an end to your reign of terror, and the remnants of the Apex, once and for all!"

Boscha's eyes widened. "The Apex?"

Boscha turned back to Zenith Fantasy, who got ready to strike back as the redhead smirked:

"Right... now I remember you..."

Chapter Text

... Actually, there is one more thing I should discuss, and that's something that's been irking me about Blossoming Trail, the story this story's based on.

I could talk about season 4 of Infinity Train, but my original speech still stands in that the Journey's what it's all about, not the end. And we had a great ride while it lasted, didn't we?

Besides, I was feeling rather positive when I wrote that speech. Now's the time I talk about some negative.

And that's the handling of the Apex, particularly Simon and Grace.

Now, in the original show, I was pretty neutral regarding the Apex. I thought they were decent antagonists, and watching Grace and Simon's fall of grave was interesting and rather dramatic.

But in Blossoming Trail... man, did Green Phantom Queen drop the ball.

Now, I'm gonna go into a few spoilers, so skip this part if you want... not that it would matter, since the Apex here are exactly the same as in canon.

I mean, I get that Blossoming Trail is Chloe's story, and that for story purposes, keeping the Apex as an antagonistic force is the most dramatic option.

But answer me this: if the story has more than enough time to turn Parker into a raging superpowered sociopath, and show Chloe and the Red Lotus Trio sing one of the greatest Tangled songs of all time, couldn't it have spared, oh I don't know, five minutes humanizing the Apex?

And I don't mean try to humanize Grace, because canon already did that: humanize the rest of the Apex. Hell, why not even try to humanize Simon? Or if that's not possible, why not try make us care about him so that when he falls, it tugs at our heartstrings?

Because I'm gonna pull a Trip and say that, when Simon kicked the bucket, which again is something canon already did, I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing.

As for his character... well, he's exactly the same as canon, with a bit of forced mysoginy to make him even worse - I'm sorry, but I just fail to see the point in that.

News flash, Green Phantom Queen, Simon's a detestable piece of work in canon already, turning him into a mysoginist doesn't add anything new! And no, turning him into a fucking dragon doesn't add anything new either! He's still the same piece of crap he's always been, he can just burn things now!

As for Grace, again, she's the same as in canon: she meets Hazel, learns she's a Denizen, grows empathetic, realizes things were wrong, you could copy and paste her character description on the wiki here and you'd get the same idea.

No, giving her a divine knife doesn't change much. Having her know about the allergies of the children doesn't change much. And having Amelia and Chloe tear into her mistakes most definitely doesn't change anything whatso-fucking-ever.

In fact, let's briefly touch on that, because that moment made me cringe and get enraged so damn hard.

So, we have someone who shares a similar past with Chloe, having been ignored by her parents, sending her to the Infinity Train. However, rather than realize this and try to empathize with her, or at least cut her some slack... Chloe and Amelia verbally tear her down?

I'm sorry, but neither of you have any sort of moral high ground in this situation.

Chloe, try to put yourself in Grace's shoes: you're stuck in an otherwordly train before the events of Book 1. You're not in Corginia, where there are dozens of cute little dogs you can pet to run away from your problems, but a bizarre, eldritch location where you could very well did.

There are no One-One instruction videos to help you, meaning you don't know what the Train's all about and the best thing you can do is freaking guess.

What the hell would you have done in her shoes, Chloe?

As for Amelia, YOU'RE the reason she's that fucked up! You were stuck in such a funk over your boyfriend's death, you saved Grace, and never did anything about it. You inspired her into creating the Apex, and didn't do anything about it afterwards. Actually, no, you did try to do something about it, but only LONG AFTER they had already massacred One-One knows how many Denizens and Passengers!

You sat idly while they broke havoc across the Train, and only decided to get off your butt and do something when they had already become a problem.

I don't care if Chloe forgives you or says that you're atoning for your mistakes! The fact it took you THIS LONG to do something about something YOU CAUSED is infuriating!

Stop acting like overgrown entitled children and SHUT! THE HELL! UP!

...

...

...

...

I'm... I'm sorry, I just, needed to get that off my chest.

Admittedly, most of what I just said is probably irrelevant, or changes into reasonable or justified with a little bit I might've missed.

Because truth be told, I haven't read the chapters from top to bottom. There's only so much overly-detailed lash outs and dickery that I can take before I need a break.

But with the Apex, Simon and Grace in particular, I'm just disappointed that nothing new was done with them.

And sure, you can bring up Sean and say how something was done with him. That's understandable, but I'm talking the leaders and OTHER children of the Apex.

But, I've already rambled long enough, and I feel like I'm probably gonna piss off somebody if I keep talking, so... see you next chapter... and sorry yet again.

Chapter Text

So, the little rant chapter before this one actually got some attention. Even got a Review from Flowers of Mnemosyne, who hadn't reviewed the story up to this point. I honestly thought people were going to ignore.

But I've learned my lesson: I'll have another rant chapter ready by Act 2. XD

Speaking seriously, and coincidentally, Blossoming Trail updated soon after I posted the chapter, and it kinda sorta fixed a few issues (minor spoilers): Grace, while still blamed over what happened, at least get some slack cut her way by Hazel expressing some sympathy for her situation (even if Amelia cut that short), and it was indeed satisfying to see Chloe not only admit what a piece of shit she's been, but then have Grace throw some guilt her face by complete accident.

I know it sounds mean, and I agree now's not the time to rant, but I do feel like it was good to read those parts.

But enough about that, it's time.

Here it is. The moment we've all been waiting for. The confrontation of the Ruby Sulphur Trio, Red Lotus Trio, and Zenith Fantasy.

And with this fight comes the end of Act 1 of this story. The first part at least: covering everything in both the Infinity Train and Boiling Isles made the chapter way too big, so I'm splitting the finale in two: this chapter will cover the Infinity Train side, and the next one tomorrow will cover the Boiling Isles.

And yeah, you heard me right, we're already at the end of Act 1. This story's going way too fast, I know. XD

I'd like to apologize for the rant chapter I posted a few days ago. I needed to get my thoughts off my chest, but it might not have been the best moment. Though, on the plus side, at least it managed to get us on the unlucky number 13.

I mean, how much more unlucky can you get than fighting Boscha? XD

Anyhow, this chapter will be solely focused on the Infinity Train side of the story. Which I think is kinda obvious, since the fight between the three groups can't take place anywhere else, can they?

Now, I wanna clarify a few things regarding last chapter.

If it seems like Jerbo forgave Skara too easily for destroying his house, he really didn't. He just sympathyzed with her.

I mean, it's one thing to force a friend of Boscha to fix the mistake she left behind, he empathized with Viney more in that regard. But when she then went on to emotionally manipulate Skara into keeping quiet by claiming that if she snitched, then she was just as bad as Boscha, he was quick to see how dickish the move was.

And then Skara drinks the potion in order to keep the secret, and turns into a half-Griffin that covers everybody in web in a fit of panic.

At that point, anybody would realize that things had gone a little too far.

Speaking of Viney, this isn't the end for her. Again, she manipulated Skara in order to pay for something Boscha did, and the situation went out of her control. Even so, it took Viney seeing Skara as a half-Griffin, and having Luz call her out on it, to realize the mistake she did.

So, no, it's not over for her yet.

And Barcus coming to Skara's aid... I mean, he's a good boy, why wouldn't he? Also, you know, he's part of the Oracle track? He probably saw how things would go to heck if he allowed Jerbo to go through with the threat, and Viney by going along with her own threat, and tried to stop things from getting worse.

Either that, or I just wanted someone to be on Skara's side for once, and Barcus was the only one I could think of.

Your choice.

And yeah, I know I made a little mistake with Chloe's statement last chapter: saying "hit two Spearows with a Poké Ball" instead of "capture". This was very much intentional, and this chapter will show you why.

Also, not to spoil a lot of things, but Amelia will appear this chapter. Saying anything else is a spoiler, so let's get going.

Heaven or hell! Duel one! LET'S ROCK!


Back where we left off, the Ruby Sulphur Trio, Red Lotus Trio, and Zenith Fantasy stared at each other, their capes and hair blowing thanks to the wind as everybody waited for something to happen.

"So, I finally get to meet the legendary "Chloe Cerise" that I've heard so much about," Boscha remarked, grinning with audacious sadism as she added, "Now I can see if you're still as Strong as they said you were, or if you've gone Soft."

Chloe tightened her grip on her donut holer, while Boscha faced the remnants of the Apex.

"And it seems that the Apex wasn't as done for as I thought," Boscha shrugged. "But oh well, that's what happens when you leave something unfinished. Now, I can properly put an end to this loose end."

"The loose end that's ending here is yours!" Lucy snapped, taking a step forward. "You may have gotten away with practically destroying the Apex, but there's no way in hell we'll let you walk out of this Train alive!"

"Fine by me," Boscha raised her palm and summoned a fireball. "That's all the more reason to burn you to a crisp!"

Chloe gripped her donut holer and got ready to swing it like a baseball bat.

"Give me your best shot!"

Boscha chuckled. "How cute, you think I'm gonna hit anybody on particular."

Chloe raised an eyebrow, but she got an answer soon after: Boscha increased the side of the fireball exponentially, throwing it into the sky as it finished growing, now being as big as a sun.

Then, once it was high in orbit, she aimed her index finger at it, then smirked as she shot a small energy beam at it.

The sun shook slowly before rapidly cracking, with it bursting into a supernova meteor shower soon after.

"What the hell?!" Chloe exclaimed before opening her palm, revealing some demonic symbol. "Botis, shield us!"

A demonic entity emerged from Chloe's palm, and shielded the trio with a red barrier.

Zenith Fantasy quickly followed with Alex putting his Scarmiglione arm down, morphing the ground into a barrier around the group.

Boscha simply grinned with notable sadism as she snapped her fingers, fusing several fireballs into a giant one that not only destroyed the barrier, but sent the group flying back, right into an incoming shower of fireballs.

"Lindsay, give me some winds!"

"I'm on it, Simon!"

Lindsay moved her arms and gusts of winds went to Simon as he spun his spear forward, releasing a torrent of wind when the winds struck it. The resulting torrent extinguished the fireballs it came into contact with,

Eventually, the meteor shower stopped... and the Red Lotus Trio and Zenith Fantasy remained standing, their barriers disintegrating as they caught their breath.

"Wow, bra-vo! I'm impressed!" Boscha spoke while clapping slowly, her tone making it hard to tell whether she was being mocking or sincere. "If you managed to survive my strongest attack, then you might actually be worth my time after all!"

Boscha flashed a toothy grin. "Too bad that also means I'm gonna kill you."

"Ha! Big talk for someone who just wasted all of her strength in one attack!" Chloe scoffed, unsheathing and pointing Boscha with her donut holer. "Your reign of terror will end here, Boscha Urodela!"

Suddenly, Boscha appeared in front of Chloe, startling Lexi and Atticus in place.

"Less talk."

Boscha put her hand on Chloe's face.

"More backstory. I'm quite curious as to what brought you here, Chloe of the Vermillion!"

Before she could pry the pyromaniac off her face, Chloe's eyes glowed alongside Boscha's, whose third eye looked up to reveal a holographic screen.

"Since when's that something she can do?!" Amelia asked in disbelief before turning to her companions. "Did you know she could do that?!"

Chris shook his... self, and Phos shrugged, equally stunned.

The rectangle flickered, and eventually, it played a memory about what brought Chloe to the train...


Chloe sat on her desk, trying to write something down while a student threw a couple paper balls at her.

"Psst, Chloe!"

Another ball thrown.

"Chloe!"

Chloe mostly ignored them, until eventually, she blocked the next ball with her book, then swatted her classmate with it, hastily acting like nothing happened as she kept writing.

"Oh, right! I nearly forgot!" Chloe's teacher said. "Tomorrow, we're going on a class trip to Vermillion City's new Safari Zone!"

The students cheered up... except for Chloe, who couldn't care less.

"We'll go on the bus as soon as we're done with homeroom class, and we'll stay at the Safari Zone until lunch time," the teacher continued. "So I hope you're all ready to go by tomorrow-"

"All?" Chloe asked. "What do you mean all?"

"Didn't you know, Chloe? The Safari Trip is obligatory: even Goh's gonna come."

"What?!" Chloe exclaimed. "Nobody told me about that!"

"That's what I wanted to tell you!" the student cried.

Chloe swatted them again with her book. "Like hell you were!"

"Chloe Cerise, that's no way to treat your classmates!" the teacher snapped. "Go to the principal's office right now!"

"But I didn't do anything wrong!"

"GO! NOW!"

Startled by the teacher's angry tone, Chloe took a deep breath, got off her desk, and left the classroom, slamming the door shut in the process.

The memory quickly shifted to show Chloe sitting on a chair, head lowered and her fingers twiddled.

"So, Chloe Cerise," the principal sighed. "What happened this time?"

"I did nothing wrong," Chloe sternly stated.

"You're here for a reason-"

"I! Did! Nothing! Wrong!" Chloe yelled, standing up as she ranted. "If Yeardley had just come up and told me about the stupid Safari trip before today, he wouldn't have set everything up to make me look like the bully! I bet that even as we speak, he's gloating about how easily he played me for a fool to his so-called friends-!"

"Chloe, have you been keeping up with your therapy sessions?"

The redhead winced.

"Have you even started those therapy sessions?"

Chloe looked away and gritted her teeth.

"Chloe, I understand that you're in a lot of pain, but you can't keep the Spearow incident under wraps like this: it's turning you paranoid, violent, if this keeps going on, I'll have no choice but to suspend you. Maybe even expel you."

Chloe snickered. "I bet you'd actually love to do that, wouldn't you?"

The principal took out a card and showed it to the redhead.

"I really wouldn't, Chloe."

She snatched the card, and took a look at it: it was the same card of the same therapist she had been suggested over a dozen times before.

"Please, Chloe, for everybody's sake, let yourself be helped."

Chloe glared at the principal for a moment, then walked out of their office with heavy stomps.

Once outside, Chloe looked at the card... and threw it at the trashcan before walking back to her classroom.

"For everybody's sake, let yourself be helped", as if it wasn't easier said than done!" Chloe pocketed her hands. "Besides, fine, I've been a little more jumpy and untrusting since I encountered that pack of Spearows, but that only made me more prepared to deal with the endless stream of insults that came my way afterwards! "This wouldn't have happened if you had brought a Pokémon with you!", "Why did you decide to go out into the routes alone!", "Why didn't you at least take a Trainer with you?!", well maybe if you paid more attention to me, Dad, I wouldn't have gotten hurt!"

Chloe promptly kicked the wall... and winced in pain as she hopped to a nearby bench and sat down.

"The ones who need therapy are my classmates! Seriously, they're so stuck up on their Pokémon obssessive ways I swear it's like they want to indoctrinate me!"

And then, Chloe checked her watch and realized something.

"Homeroom usually ends at this time, which means Mrs. Asphodel isn't in the classroom anymore... which means my classmates must be preparing something to humilliate me yet again!"

She stood up and walked to the window, a proud smile on her face.

"Well, jokes on them: I'm not going to fall for such an obvious trap! I'm outta here!"

Chloe jumped through the window and began walking away, snickering at her own brain move... until she tripped and rolled down a hill, screaming as she rolled around at the speed of sound, until eventually, she landed on a grassfield, covered in leaves and sticks.

"Ugh, since when's there a hill near the school?" she groaned as she stood up. "And more importantly, where do I go now? If I go to Goh's house or mine, I'll just be sent back here to he mocked and jeered at!"

Suddenly, a bright green glow flashed in front of Chloe, and in an instant, a train connected to other trains appeared, opening its doors as the redhead stood up.

She looked down, and there were train tracks underneath the mysterious train.

"An abandoned train track? How odd..." Chloe hummed and scratched her chin. "Just where does this train lead to-"

"Spearow!"

The call startled Chloe hard enough to make her jump right into the train, whose doors closed before driving off.


Once the memory finished, Chloe and Boscha's eyes stopped glowing, and the former found the latter glaring at her with a red glow.

"Are you for real!?"

Boscha threw a punch, but Chloe blocked it with her donut holer before swatting Boscha with it, sending her sliding a few feet away, while also leaving a dent on it.

"Who said you could look into memories, you mental pervert!?" Chloe yelled. "How many others have had their privacy mentally invaded by you!?"

"I don't know!" Boscha stood up, her eyes now visibly red. "How many people have you beaten up over your dumb paranoia!"

Suddenly, an energy blast struck Boscha, causing her to turn to the source: that being Zenith Fantasy.

"Ugh, fine, if you want to die so badly," Boscha aimed a fireball at them. "Then so be it!"

Lucy stood in front, ready to strike back... only for Phos to stand between Zenith Fantasy and the fireball.

"Phos, I can't quite get my fireball in range, could you please step aside?"

Phos reached for their scabbard and unsheathed their sword, gripping tightly as they stood in place.

Boscha, however, seemed more bemused at this than angry. "Phos, care to explain?"

"Chris and I are supposed to be your partners. That it's our sworn duty to help you grow as a person and leave this Train with a new perspective," Phos tightened their grip. "And for that, I'll even fight you to achieve it!"

Boscha cackled half-heartedly.

"I can't get better nor grow, Phos. Didn't you listen to the analysis given by the ball robot?" Boscha tilted her head, her grin gaining hints of pain and agony. "My number is static. No matter what I do, it will never go up, nor down. It will never reach zero. I will never leave."

"The ball robot?" Lexi asked. "Wait, you met One-One?"

Boscha shot a fireball at Lexi's face, burning his eye as the guy screamed in pain.

"Speak when spoken to, alright? For your safety. Now, where was I? Oh yeah: I'm hopeless Phos. Hopelessly lost, hopelessly trapped..."

Boscha raised her hands and opened them, forming large fireballs as her eyes glowed red.

"And hopelessly overpowered! So, I wonder, will you fight for the strongest side, or will you remain with the side that's gonna be slaughtered?"

Phos paused for a second... then remained in place, looking more determined than ever.

"So that's how it is..." Boscha smiled with melancholy. "I'm proud of you, Phos. I really am."

Boscha aimed her palm at Zenith Fantasy and charged it.

"Too bad I have to kill you now."

Boscha shot a fireball, and Lucy jumped in front of Phos, covering the two with her Cloak as the fireball hit...

"Todd! Now!"

Boscha raised an eyebrow at the sudden shout from Grace, but she barely got time to ponder what she meant before pieces of the ground split off and levitated towards the sky, leaving the Red Lotus Trio and Chris stumped.

"Wait, why are we standing here looking gobsmacked!?" Lexi snapped before sprouting draconic paper wings. "Let's follow them!"

"Right!" Chloe's mark glowed again. "Focalor, give me wings!"

A pair of demonic wings sprouted  from Chloe's back, the redhead spreading them before flying to the fight alongside Lexi. This left Atticus and Chris behind, the latter looking at the floating platforms with concern as the former spoke:

"Aren't you going to follow them? You can fly, after all."

Chris took a deep breath, and furrowed his brow.

"I probably should."

Then, he turned around, staring seriously at Atticus as he added:

"But my fight is right here."

Atticus furrowed his brow as well.

"I see. Then we both agree on something."

Thunder was heard nearby as, above in the platforms, the smoke cloud covering Phos and Zenith Fantasy dissipated, revealing the group to be standing on the platform while Todd and Lindsay worked together to keep them afloat.

"Good work, guys!" Phos stated, gripping their blade. "Keep us up for a little longer! This won't take long!"

"It better not!" a strained Lindsay exclaimed.

Simon, Grace, Lucy, Alex, and Phos hopped across the platforms as Boscha stood up, dusting herself as Lucy quickly caught up to her and swung her cape at her.

Boscha tried to incinerate it with a fireball, but to her shock, the cape simply absorbed it and smacked Boscha, right before releasing the same fireball right at Boscha's face.

"Whoa, it can catch and return fireballs?!" Lucy asked out loud, gaining a smile while inspecting the Cloak. "Cool!"

This was quickly followed by Boscha shaking off the attack, regenerating the damage done while growling and baring her teeth.

"Not cool! Not cool!"

But before Boscha could attack Lucy, Alex threw his shield at the three-eyed witch, and quickly grabbed both it and Lucy while Simon, Grace, and Phos engaged Boscha, each swinging their weapons while Boscha did her best to dodge them.

"Thanks!" Lucy said. "Say, you think you could get her wet? That seemed to remove her powers last time!"

"I would if I could, but this shield can't create water, just control!" Alex answered, before he noticed Chloe and Lexi flying nearby. "H-Hey! Red Lotus Girl!"

Chloe stopped flying and faced the boy.

"Could you create a rain or something that could give me some water to work with?!"

"Don't listen to him, Chloe!" Lexi snapped, getting the redhead's attention. "He's a member of the Apex! He can't be trusted!"

"The witch can't use her fire powers if she's wet!" Lucy added. "If we can get her soaked, we might stand a chance!"

Chloe scratched her chin. "That does coincide with what we know about the Lion of Cremation..."

Coming to a decision, Chloe raised her marked palm to the skies and proclaimed:

"Vepar, make it rain!"

A beam of light emerged from Chloe's palm and pierced the skies, causing the clouds to turn into rainclouds, striking thunder before raining all over the Car.

"Oh no..." Boscha grimaced. "Not rain!"

Alex smiled and raised his shield, collecting the rain that fell on it before summoning a large water sphere. He then threw it up, and smacked it with his shield, sending the sphere straight to Boscha, Phos, and the Zenith leaders, the latter three jumping out of the way before she sphere connected.

The end result was Boscha bathing in water, gasping for air as she dropped to the ground, shivering as she looked up to see everyone staring at her.

~It's cold... s-s-so cold...~

~Those bastards! They're crippling us before delivering the killing blow!~

~T-T-They might-~

~They might nothing! They want to kill us! That's why they're doing this! So they can kill us and enjoy every second of it!~

~No... t-t-that's what... t-the Boiling Isles... t-the Boiling Underworld-~

~It's the same in all worlds! When they see something they can't beat, they cripple them! Humilliate them! Dehumanize them!~

~W-W-We had it c-coming-~

~The crippling!? The mutilation!? The humilliation!?~

~W-We gave them no choice-~

~Like they would've given us a choice! They don't care about choices! In this world it's kill or be killed! Which means...~

".ill... orld... ills me..."

Phos' eyes widened as Simon asked, "What did you say?"

"I said..." Boscha raised her head, flashing actual red eyes. "I must kill the world before it kills me!"

A yellow aura bathed Boscha, and next thing anyone knew, she transformed, floating up as her hair turned golden and her eyes crimson red.

"Wait a minute, she can transform?!" Grace exclaimed. "You must be kidding me!"

"I said the exact same thing when I found out," Phos sighed. "And I'm afraid that no, she's not joking-"

Suddenly, Boscha flew past the trio and towards Alex and Lucy, covering her fist with fire as the kids prepared to block it...

Only for Lexi to summon a whip made of paper to grab and throw Boscha at Chloe, who covered her own fist in pink flames.

Gritting her teeth, Boscha broke free from the soggy whip, and punched Chloe's fire punch with her own, causing an explosion that sent them both flying several feet back.

"Boscha, listen to me!" Chloe exclaimed. "Things don't have to go this way!"

"Well, I beg to differ!"

Boscha created a fireball and shot it at Chloe, who smacked it away with ease.

"Killing innocent people just because they might hurt you isn't the way the world works!"

Suddenly, Boscha flew towards Chloe, landing right on her face as she hissed:

"Maybe it's not the way your world works..."

Then, she stopped a kunai thrown by Lexi with her bare hand, though she still bled a little from the grab.

"And it's not the way your friend's world works, or how any of the Train's worlds work..."

Then, as Lexi flew to Boscha, the witch grabbed Chloe's collar and tightly gripped it.

"But it's the way my world works. And I hate to tell you this, but a sermon that lasts five minutes won't make me forget the torture and paranoia I've had to deal with my entire life!"

Once close enough, Boscha swung Chloe at Lexi, causing both of them to be sent flying elsewhere.

Then, Boscha began breathing heavily, as her veins began glowing and spreading across her arms, going from volcanic to a concerningly deep shade of red. She gritted her teeth in pain as she clenched her fists, forcing herself to summon more flames to attack Zenith Fantasy with.

Like before, she threw the fireballs at them, with Lucy blocking them once more... but this time, Phos and Lucy burst out of the smoke clouds.

Phos was first, swinging his blade to Boscha, only for her to block it with her arm... which gave Lucy enough time to speed forward and grab Boscha's third eye.

"Ouch!" Simon winced.

"Lucy, what are you doing?!" Grace asked worriedly.

"I'm making sure this psycho never hurts anyone again!"

With enough strength, Lucy pulled Boscha's eye right out of its socket, blood splattering her cloak and a bit of her face... which made her grimace when she realized just how hot it was.

Finally giving in against the pressure, Lindsay and Todd both stopped keeping the platforms afloat, with them falling just in time for Boscha to power down and plummet to the ground, screaming in bone chilling agony all the while.

Lindsay used what little strength she had to give everyone but Boscha a safe landing, and once on the ground, Lucy and Phos quickly ran back to Zenith Fantasy, and the group ran away as fast as they could.

Alongside this, Chloe, seeing a chance to take down Boscha once and for all, flew down to her and prepared to slam her donut holer against her...

Only to falter when she saw Boscha writhing on the ground, covering her empty eye socket as she whimpered:

"It hurts... it hurts..."

Lexi flew down soon after, in part because his wings couldn't last much longer under the rain, but once he hit the ground and reached Chloe's side, he commented:

"What are you waiting for, Chloe?! This is the best chance we'll ever have to get rid of the Lion of Cremation once and for all!"

"Not get rid of," Chloe stated. "Save."

"What!?"

Chloe walked towards Boscha, reaching her hand out to her once she got close enough...

Until Boscha got up and looked at her, a mixed look of fear and anger on her face, prompting Chloe to instinctively swing her donut holer.

Once she swung it, however, Boscha blocked the attack with her arm, standing up as she reached for her back.

"You really think... I'll let you kill me... that easily!?"

"What?! I'm not-I didn't mean to-"

Boscha took out something and struck Chloe with it... both of them being stunned when they saw the Azura the Good Witch compendium in her hand.

"Did you just hit me with a book!?"

This is not what I was trying to take out, but... Boscha smirked. "Not so good... when you're the one... getting hit, huh!?"

Chloe ran towards Boscha with Lexi by her side, and the two-eyed witch threw the compendium to Chris, who quickly absorbed it into his being and went back to... having a friendly game of chess with Atticus.

The sight alone caused everybody to stop.

"Chris, what are you doing?"

"Playing chess with Atticus," the crystal ball answered. "I had a spare chess set inside me, and Atticus and I decided to play a game. Is that a problem?"

"We're fighting!" Chloe pointed out.

"And so are we! Only instead of throwing fists, we're undergoing a battle of wits to determine who's the better chess player!" Atticus explained, waggling his tail with the most serious expression he could muster. "A contest of minds between the brains of both teams!"

Boscha took a deep breath. "Fine, keep playing. Just... make sure you win, alright, Chris?"

"Crystal clear!" Chris answered with a chuckle. "Get it? Crystal clear? 'Cause I'm a crystal ball-"

"Yeah, I get it, I just... didn't find it funny," Boscha turned back to the duo. "Now, where were we?"

Chloe stopped Lexi before he could attack Boscha as intended.

"I'm sorry... I didn't mean to hit you."

"Sure, that's... what they all say..." Boscha sighed. "And then... they hit again... and again... and again..."

Chloe lowered her head. "I'll admit I want to put an end to your reign of terror... but I don't want to kill you."

"Why not?" Boscha gritted her teeth. "And why... would I believe you?"

"Because... I don't know, it just doesn't feel right to put an end to a troubled soul without even giving them a chance," Chloe frowned. "Has anybody tried to help you, Boscha?"

The memory of the Cursed Princess Club, and the good times she had with them, swarmed Boscha's mind, bringing a smile to the weakened smile.

"Yes..."

Chloe smiled. "Then, doesn't that mean that there's still hope for you?"

"It..." Boscha wobbled to the side. "D-Does?"

"Boscha-"

And then Lexi swung a bunch of paper at Boscha, cutting her eyes.

"AAAAAH!"

"Lexi, what the hell!" Chloe exclaimed. "I was just about to get through to her!"

"No you weren't, Chloe! I hate to be the one to tell you this," Lexi replied as he grabbed his papers. "But this monster can't be trusted! We need to take every advantage we can get with this maniac!"

Boscha covered her eyes as they healed, at least until they were just bloodshot rather than cut open as she yelled:

"I'M GONNA KILL YOU UNTIL YOU DIE FROM IT!"

Lexi readied for an attack-

"NO!"

Chloe spread her arms and stood between the two.

"Nobody's killing anybody today!"

"Oh really now?" Boscha asked with a cocky, bemused smile. "Who's Nobody, and why... do they get to kill this anybody?"

"What I mean is," Chloe turned around and faced Boscha. "We're not going to kill you. That's what the Apex would do, and we're better than them. No, what we want to do, is help you."

Boscha chuckled. "That's rich, coming from a girl... who can't even help herself!"

Lexi prepared to attack, but Chloe stopped him with a simple warning:

"Lexi, pull another stunt, and I will leave you back in Azada!"

Lexi quietly complied soon after.

The redhead walked to Boscha, and extended her hand towards her.

"I'll say this just once: please, let me help you."

Boscha rolled her eyes and looked at the hand... until she realized something.

"Your number's... flickering."

Chloe raised an eyebrow. "So?"

Boscha grabbed Chloe's hand and pulled her towards her, taking a closer look at the number as she smirked evilly.

"Your number's static... you're a Static Passenger, aren't you?"

Chloe grimaced and shook her head. "That's besides the point! Will you let me help you or not?"

Boscha cackled, tears forming at the corner of her eyes. "You really... don't get it, don't you!?"

Boscha squeezed Chloe's hand tightly, causing the girl to yelp in pain as Lexi readied his kunai, and Boscha's pained smile was accompanied by a devastated tone of voice:

"You and I... are the same! We can't change! We can't grow! We can't be saved! And most of all, we'll be... stuck on this Titan forsaken Infinity Train, forever!"

Lexi kicked Boscha to the side hard enough to make her roll, a trail of blood being left behind as Boscha started to laugh like a maniac.

However, as she stood up on all fours, Boscha's laughter slowly transformed into crying as her smile faltered, until eventually, she cried at the top of her lungs, lunging at the duo with an ear piercing screech.

While shit was hitting the fan over that side of the Car, Zenith Fantasy and Phos ran in search for a door, all while Lucy held Boscha's eye.

"Ugh, can't we just crush that thing?!" Lindsay whined while being carried by Simon. "It's so gross!"

"I'm afraid nothing we do will work on it," Phos answered. "Boscha told me one time that the eye on her forehead is almost indestructible. Plus, even if we could destroy it, that would just give you the top spot on her hit list."

"But she wouldn't hurt anybody ever again, right?" Lucy asked with nervous hope. "Without the eye, she can't access most of her powers, meaning she's too weak to hurt anyone!"

Phos frowned. "I wish it was that simple-"

"Halt!"

Zenith Fantasy stopped on their tracks, thunder cracking in the distance as they saw what looked like an exit... and a woman with a grey uniform standing in front of it, with a futuristic handgun on... well, hand.

"Hand over the eye right now, Apex," she demanded, aiming the gun at the group. "Don't make this any harder than it needs to be."

"We're not the Apex anymore, we're Zenith Fantasy!" Simon groaned. "And even if we were still the Apex, why would we do what you say?!"

"Because I'm Amelia Hughes. Or as you better know me..."

The woman adjusted a modulator on her neck, then spoke again:

"I'm the Conductor."

Everybody stopped fighting and faced Amelia, Chloe whispering a little "no" as Grace visibly tried to process the statement.

"Wait... what?"

"You heard me right," Amelia replied, deactivating her voice modulator as she added, "I'm the Conductor you met so long ago. Or at least, I'm the one who usurped the position. I'm working with One-One to ensure neither Boscha nor the Apex continue to destroy everything, so hand over the eye before things get ugly.

Grace lowered her head, scratching it as Lucy grabbed her arm sympathetically.

"So... the Conductor that saved me... t-that inspired me to start the Apex... wasn't even the real conductor, but a passenger acting like them?!"

"I know this must be very difficult to process," Amelia sighed. "But you needed to find out sooner or later. Besides, knowing how your little cult works, you'll hand over the eye, now-"

"It's your fault..."

Everybody turned to Boscha, who not only sported a murderous expression, but her pupils turned red as her sclera slowly darkened.

"It's... All... Your..."

Her sclera now pitch black, a golden aura enveloped Boscha as she yelled at the top of her lungs:

"FAAAAAAUUUUUULT!"

Not only did a crater form underneath Boscha's feet, but an intense gust of wind was unleashed, with everybody struggling to stay in their place as her screams echoed in the car.

"Goodness gracious, what's happening?!" Amelia asked.

"You pissed her off, that's what's happening!" Phos exclaimed, tightly grippling their sword. "And when Boscha's pissed off, she can't tell friend from foe!"

With enough force, Boscha pushed Chloe away and flew straight to the Apex remnants, snatching her eye back from Lucy's hands and putting it right back on her empty socket, before generating a pair of fireballs and morphing them into a sword.

"That's a fire sword. That's a literal fire sword!" Alex cried. "It's a sword made of fire!"

"Yeah, we noticed, Alex," Lindsay dryly replied.

Boscha glared at Zenith Fantasy... then turned to Amelia and dashed to her.

"Everything the Apex has ever done! The ransacking of the Cars! The murders of the Denizens! Their arrogant sense of superiority! IT ALL STARTED WITH YOU!"

Boscha swung her sword, but luckily, Amelia's shield activated just in time, leaving her unharmed as she slid several miles into a bunch of rubble.

"I wasn't even trying to create the Apex!" Amelia snapped as she stood up. "I was just minding my own business! That child got the idea all on her own!"

"And yet, what did you do to fix it!? Fake Conductor or not, you had to have seen their faces! You had to find out the horrors they were doing! And yet, you did nothing to stop them?! Why!? Were you unsure of what to do?! Did you think someone else would deal with them for you?! Or were you so focused on one particular thing that you never even found out about their existence!?"

At the last question, Amelia briefly winced, and that was all Boscha needed.

"That's it, isn't it? You did nothing about them, because you never noticed them," Boscha stomped to Amelia, gripping her flaming sword as she did. "Because you didn't notice the world around you. Because something else caught your attention so hard, the rest of the world just... ceased to exist for you."

Amelia lowered her head, took a deep breath, then explained:

"I used to have a significant other. His name was Alrick, and he was taken away from me far too soon. He meant the world to me... so when he died, I felt like nothing mattered anymore."

Zenith Fantasy and the Red Lotus Trio frowned with sympathy as they listened closely.

"I was this close to ending it all when the Train picked me up. I was lost, confused, unsure on what to do. But then I found the Engine Room, and got an idea: if this Train can recreate memories, then maybe I could get another chance with Alrick... but alas, no matter how hard I tried, I could never replace him. I was stuck on a funk for over thirty years, and when I finally got a reality check. It was too late. And now, I'm stuck on this Train, with a number so long I'll die before I get to go home again."

Amelia shed a few tears.

"And even if I did, the home I used to live at, my friends, my family... everybody's gone. So even if I left... I'd be all alone."

A moment of silence followed as Amelia lowered her head and rubbed her forehead, trying to calm herself from the-

"Who cares?"

Everybody gasped, except Amelia, who looked dumbfounded at Boscha as the witch continued:

"So what if your boyfriend died? That's just one person. Ever since the Apex was created, do you know how many Denizens they killed? Dozens. Hundreds. Thousands. Maybe even millions."

The Zenith Fantasy children winced at the reminder of their past crimes, with Grace being quick to provide them comfort.

"And while people mourned for the partners they lost, the friends they never saw again, and the families who lost one more member, what did you do?" Boscha narrowed her eyes in disgust. "You stood by and tried to revive someone who was gone, at the expense of the many that could've been brought back without wasting that much time. Do you really think this is what he would've wanted?"

Amelia looked elsewhere, narrowing her eyes as Boscha continued:

"No. In fact, I'm gonna take a guess, and say he'd be angry. I bet he'd be disgusted. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if he chose to cut you out of his life entirely!"

Amelia gritted her teeth and got ready to snap at Boscha... only to find herself grippling Boscha's blade inches away from her chest.

"But don't worry, you'll find out soon enough!"

Zenith Fantasy and the Red Lotus Trio exchanged looks and nodded before charging towards the duo, Phos following them right behind.

"As the true Apex of the Infinity Train, I hereby declare you, Amelia Hughes, as irredeemable for your role in the creation of the false Apex! The only way you can atone for all of this..."

Despite all her effort, Amelia's strength could only hold on for so long, and slowly but surely, the tip of the blade entered Amelia's upper torso, causing her to scream in agony as Boscha added:

"Is to die!"

*BONK!*

Boscha was sent flying several feet away, crashing on a bunch of trees as Chloe caught her breath and removed the blade from Amelia's chest.

"Amelia, are you alright?!"

"Yeah, I think so," Amelia sighed before looking down at her cauterized wound. "It seems that blade was hot enough to cauterize the wound."

"The Apex are going to deal with her now!" Lexi stated as he morphed into a paper dragon. "Get on my back so we can get out of here!"

"Got it," Amelia sighed. "Atticus! We're leaving!"

"What?! No fair!" Atticus pouted. "I was about to get a checkmate!"

"He really wasn't!" Chris added with a cheerful smile.

But suddenly, a fireball struck the dragon, sending him crashing to the ground as Boscha walked into view, bleeding from her forehead.

"Not again! Never again! You won't escape justice, nor karma, yet again! Even if I die, even if I destroy the entire Train, I will make sure you pay for what you've done, False Conductor!"

Chloe and Amelia stood up, the former wrapping the latter's arm so they could both stand up, staying still as Boscha stomped towards them.

"And you... Chloe of the Vermillion... I thought you were better than this! I thought you were strong! That you could tell right from wrong! But I was wrong about you!"

"Why?!" Chloe spat. "Because I'm not exactly what you want me to be?!"

"Because you chose to associate with the source of the Apex! The source of all misery on this Train besides me!" Boscha narrowed her eyes. "Why would you want anything to do with her with all of this in mind!?"

"Because she's trying to change! She's trying to atone for her past mistakes!" Chloe snapped back. "And unlike you, she isn't going on a temper tantrum-based killing spree! In fact, she has a much better chance at leaving this Train than you'll have in a lifetime!"

"... That may be true," Boscha smirked. "But how will she leave the Infinity Train..."

Boscha put her hands on the ground, and flashed a sadistic grin.

"If there's no Train left!?"

Lines emerged from the ground before pillars of flame and fire emerged, further cracking the floor until an earthquake happened, and the skies turned red.

Boscha cackled like an absolute maniac, dancing around while Chloe and Amelia tried to stand up while a door opened.

"Boscha, this has gone too far!" Chloe snapped. "You gotta put a stop to this-"

"The end of this Car cannot be stopped, Chloe of the Vermillion!" Boscha proclaimed. "Once I put the Car's very code on fire, it's a slow, dramatic, gorgeous chain of destruction until the Car and everything inside it are gone forever!"

"But this is too far! Even you have to realize this is wrong!"

"I don't know what's right or wrong anymore! I don't know what's good or evil anymore! And I don't even care!" Boscha laughed out loud. "I just want to get rid of this damn Train once and for all!"

"You can't destroy the Infinity Train!" Amelia exclaimed.

"But I can destroy everything within!" Boscha responded with a demented smile. "Every Passenger! Every Denizen! All shall be burned to a crisp, down to their very soul!"

Boscha charged fireballs and aimed them at the duo.

"I will burn everything in this Train until there's nothing left!"

Boscha shot her fireballs, but moments before they struck, Amelia pressed a button on her uniform and teleported herself and the Red Lotus Trio out of the way.

With the attack connecting and creating a small explosion, Boscha walked to the door and stepped through, with the Car being engulfed in flames of destruction as soon as it closed.


Meanwhile, the Red Lotus team and Amelia crash landed on the Engine Room, One-One pausing to notice them before chirping:

"Welcome back! How did it go?"

"Terribly!" Lexi snapped. "We almost died!"

"There's no question, we simply can't deal with that thing on our own," Amelia stated. "She needs to be put down immediately!"

"Hey, hold on a second!" Atticus exclaimed. "I agree that drastic measures are required to deal with Boscha, but is it necessary to straight up kill her?"

"She turned the interior of a Car into a living hell, then burned its code until it suffered a meltdown!" Amelia pointed out. "Somebody with that much power shouldn't be allowed to roam the Infinity Train as they please!"

"But we can't kill her! The only Passengers who've ever killed anybody before have been the Apex!" Chloe argued, putting her hands on her hips. "If we kill her, then we stoop to their level! And if we do that, we'll never hear the end of it! What we should do is help her-"

"There's no way to help Boscha as she currently stands," Sad-One stated, getting everyone's attention. "Whatever she went through has caused her to become terrified of changing. If she can't change, her number won't grow or shrink. And if her number can't change-"

"She'll be stuck on the Infinity Train, with more than enough time to wipe out everything inside it or die trying," Amelia grimaced. "Is there nothing we can do to stop her?"

Sad-One paused for a moment, then dropped a bombshell as Glad-One briefly took over:

"You could kill her!"

Everybody gasped.

"You too, One-One?!" Chloe groaned. "Are you crazy?!"

"No, I'm Glad-One!" the ball began sulking. "And I'm Sad-One."

"That's not what she means! You're asking us to kill a living flamethrower!" Lexi snapped. "With the firepower she holds, none of us can get close to her!"

Atticus then realized something. "Actually, there is one of us who could do it..."

Everybody turned to face Chloe, and the redhead quickly got the hint.

"Oh no! Absolutely not! I don't care what you guys say, I'm not gonna do it!" Chloe folded her arms and turned around. "I'm not a heartless murderer like the Apex or Boscha! I insist that there's gotta be another way to deal with her!"

"And what would that be?"

Chloe paused to think about her options. Eventually, she snapped:

"I'll think of something eventually!"

"And in the meantime, Boscha will destroy the Infinity Train to her heart's content," One-One bluntly pointed out. "Is that what you want?"

"No! But I don't want to be a murderer either!"

"There's no other way, Chloe," Sad-One confessed. "Boscha won't listen to reason. She's too unstable to give logic a go."

"And if you can't stop her, who can?" Atticus argued. "The Apex are no longer a thing because she dismantled them, and even the splinter group we encountered was no match for her! You're the only one who can put a stop to her rampage before she goes too far!"

"No! I can't do it!"

"Well, I should go check up on the splinter group, see if they're still alive," Amelia sighed as she adjusted her machinery. "Have fun running in circles."

With a push of a button, Amelia vanished, leaving the trio and One-One to keep arguing.


Zenith Fantasy took a moment to catch their breath, having just escaped the Paradise Lost Car before it exploded out of existence.

Currently, Todd and Lindsay hugged Grace and Simon while bawling their hearts out, while Lucy and Alex got on the floor, having barely enough strength to stand up.

"M-My life..." Alex shivered, hugging his shield like a blanket. "I-It flashed right before my very eyes!"

Lucy promptly hugged him. "I-It's okay, e-everything's fine now."

"We need to get out of here right now," Simon stated while rubbing Lindsay's hair. "We need to go back to Samantha's Car, she always knows how to cheer us up."

"Samantha? You mean The Cat, right?"

Zenith Fantasy turned around, and saw Amelia standing nearby, arms folded behind her back. And to say the group weren't excited to see her again so soon would be an understatement.

"Listen, today's been just one huge mess," Grace groaned as she walked to the woman. "So, please, just let it go and let us go to The Cat's Car!"

"I'm afraid I can't do that," Amelia replied as she took out a scanner. "Not until I can verify you're not contaminated."

Grace raised an eyebrow. "Contaminated?"

Amelia opened her mouth, but before she could say anything, a blast of dark energy struck her, a barrier absorbing the blast and nullifying it as she slid right into a door.

Everybody turned to see the source was Simon, whose spear tip glowed black as he growled:

"We don't have time to humor this hag's protocol! We need to go see Samantha right now!"

"If you wait just a second, I'll be happy to let you go! But I need to verify if you're the ones forcing the Cars to be put into quarantine!"

"Quarantine?" Grace repeated. "Why would the Cars need to be put in quarantine?"

"Something, or someone, is going around corrupting the Cars and making them unstable. Said Cars are put in quarantine in order to fix their damages so they don't pose a threat to Passenger and Denizen alike."

Lucy frowned. "That's horrible."

"It is, so please, just stand still and-"

"What?! You're still alive!?"

Everybody looked up to see Boscha glaring down at them, her mane flowing while flickering from yellow to pink and back repeatedly.

"Damn, looks like you're tougher than I thought," Boscha aimed her palm at the group and charged a fireball. "No matter, this time, I won't fail!"

It was at this point that Chloe returned, floating in the sky while holding a determined expression on her face. The rest of the Red Lotus Trio appeared soon after, stopping next to the group as they looked at the duo.

Then, Chloe gestured at Boscha to come at her.

"Ugh, what do you want this ti-"

Boscha flinched, and in the blink of an eye, some of her power was absorbed by Chloe, a fact that sent shivers down her spine.

Soon after, each of the gems in the Mahamayuri Train lit up, culminating in Chloe being enveloped in a pink aura before transforming into her most powerful form yet.

Chloe of the Pink Hair Dye!

"No! You absorbed my power?! That's impossible!" Boscha yelled, fearing for her life as she charged a fireball. "S... Stop this now!"

Just as she charged a fireball, however, Boscha was intercepted by Chloe, who put a hand on her forehead and depowered her back to normal.

"No! Please!" she begged, with tears on her eyes.

Soon after, Chloe unleashed a beam of energy, engulfing Boscha so thoroughly her very form was erased, leaving nothing behind.

With that done, Chloe floated down to the ground, and returned to her base form as everybody looked at her in disbelief.

"Chloe, you..." Lexi uttered before reaching for her shoulder. "... Are you okay?"

The redhead gently rejected Lexi's offer, and walked towards the next Car, just as the Train reconnected the remaining Cars automatically.

And as they walked, One-One's voice was heard:

"Attention all Passengers, this is a Train wide announcement."


"Boscha Urodela, otherwise known as the Lion of Cremation, has been slain by Chloe of the Vermillion."

Calpernia dropped a tray filled with teacups to the ground, the rest of the Cursed Princess Club members sharing her shock and horror as she could only whisper at the news:

"Boscha... no..."

Gwen grabbed Calpernia's hand, twiddling their fingers as the president shivered and lowered her head, just barely holding herself together.


Meanwhile, at the Astral Car, King Lartsa took a deep breath and lowered his head, hiding his troubled feelings behind a deadpan expression.

"Lamentable... truly lamentable..."


Unfortunately, the Cursed Princess Club Car and Astral Car were more or less the only Cars to mourn Boscha's untimely demise:

At the Mana Academy Car, the students tried their best to keep studying despite the shocking news. Especially because, as some would detest to confess, some were glad that Boscha was no more.


At the Aincraid Car, a tavern full of people raised their beers and cheered, with a man wearing black clothing, Kirito, raising his the highest.

"Rounds are on me!" the man exclaimed. "Let's celebrate for the end of one of the Train's biggest enemies!"

The taverngoers continued to party, even when it became clear some of them were actually conflicted about this.


At Le Chat Chalet Car, The Cat breathed a sigh of relief, plopping down on the couch while Frank appeared, delivering a healthy dessert.


And at the Maverick Hunters Car, X, Zero, and Iris overheard the news at HQ.

"Looks like Chloe did it," Iris remarked while pressing some keys on the keyboard. 

Zero nodded... and quickly noticed X looking a bit worried. "What's wrong, X? Chloe defeated Boscha, just like she said she would."

"I know, but..." X hesitated. "Something tells me she's not happy about it."

"She definitely isn't."

The trio turned around to see Peacock standing nearby, a smug smile on her face.

"She loved to flaunt the fact that she believed she wouldn't need to kill the Lion of Cremation. That she could save her like she "saved" all those other people."

Peacock snickered.

"Now that she's lost that moral high ground, it's time to kick her training into overdrive!"


The rest of the Red Lotus Trio and Zenith Fantasy soon followed... and they both landed on the same pitch black Car.

"Hey, what are you doing here?!" Lexi snapped. "The last thing Chloe needs right now is to deal with you Free Riders!"

"We didn't want to come here!" Lucy snapped back. "We were going back to that one Car whose name I can't pronounce!"

"Le Chat Chalet Car," Simon answered.

"Yeah, that one!"

"Typical Passenger, always thinking about where you want to go..."

The two groups looked forward and saw a being cloaked in an oddly-familiar black cloak come out of the shadows.

"Instead of where you need to go."

Lucy's eyes widened. "A member of Organization XIII?!"

"Close, but... actually, no, you're not close at all," the cloaked figure snickered. "Let me introduce myself: I'm the Master of Masters."

"Geez, you're quite humble, aren't you?" Lexi growled as he prepared a paper. "Anyhow, are you the one who sent us to this Car?"

"That could very well be the case," the Master of Masters spun around and shrugged. "Or perhaps, your little friend subconsciously sent you here."

Atticus tilted his head. "What do you mean?"

"Your friend is troubled for what she had to do," the Master faced Chloe. "She's troubled by the illusion that she has just killed somebody."

Chloe perked up at the insinuation. "You mean I didn't kill Boscha after all?!"

The Master of Masters snapped his fingers, and the Car lit up... revealing quite the disturbing imagery.

Surrounding them were several giant crosses, each ending on an inverted heart, and each holding what look liked a Passenger with their wrists, ankles, and foreheads wrapped around the cross, their eyes closed and numbers faintly seen on their palms.

And high above them was a clear, dark sky, with a giant heart-shaped moon looming over them.

"Does this answer your question?"

Chloe walked towards one of the crosses, this one holding a very familiar Passenger.

Boscha.

"What... is this?"

Lindsay, soon after, flew towards several of the kids pinned to the crosses, and to her horror, she could recognize most of them.

"Billy... Avery... Logan... oh no, not you too, Connie..."

After some more minutes scanning the environment, Lindsay flew back to the group with bad news:

"It's exactly as we feared; some of the kids here are former members of the Apex."

"Good lord," Amelia gasped, then shot a glare at Grace and Simon. "What did you do to these children!?"

"Hey, we're just as stunned as you are!" Simon snapped back. "The real question is, what even is this place?!"

"We call it the Heartyard Car," the Master of Masters answered, getting everyone's attention. "This is the place where passengers who nearly kick the bucket are allowed to heal, and given a second chance at the Infinity Train. A chance they'd never get before Amelia came along."

"The Usurper Conductor?" Grace asked.

"And what happens to Static Passengers?" Phos inmediately asked. "Do they get healed and are let go like the others?"

The cloaked figure shook his head and chuckled.

"Oh, if only it was that simple."

Chloe raised an eyebrow. "Is it not?"

"A Static Passenger cannot grow because something in their mind forces them to stay put. If this doesn't get treated, they can never change."

Chloe looked at her static number as the figure added:

"And if they can never change, they can never grow as people, and exit the Train."

Chloe frowned, and Atticus and Lexi quickly comforted her.

"Of course, a Static Passenger doesn't need to be sent here to deal with their static," the Master scratched his head. "There are many ways to help them get past their static trauma. The Heart System is just the most effective way to do it."

Grace raised an eyebrow. "The Heart System? What's that?"

"Whatever it is," Amelia stated as she narrowed her eyes with determination. "I'm about to find out."

Amelia pressed a button on her uniform, and she was teleported out of the Car, which the Master of Masters found bemusing.

"And I was just about to tell her about it. Oh well, you'll have to do."

Everybody listened intently as the Master looked at Boscha's crucified body and explained:

"When a Passenger gets taken here, they're rendered comatose, their souls being split into several components. These components get transformed into Denizens, but unlike the average Denizens, these ones possess a number somewhere on their body."

"But, wait," Chloe blurted. "I thought when a Passenger died, their soul got reworked into a Denizen."

"You really think One-One would tell you the full truth?" the Master of Masters sighed. "Let me put it simply: Boscha is dead, and her soul has been reworked into Denizens. Not to work on the Train forever, but to try help her heal the damage that prevents her from growing."

The Master of Masters turned around and pointed at the groups.

"And that's where you come in!"

Everybody raised an eyebrow.

"One-One will analyze the Train as Boscha's soul gets converted into Denizens. Once they've been identified and materialized, you'll be required to go look for them, and help them heal so that when they're dealt with, Boscha will reawaken as a mentally stable person."

"Wait, you expect us to work with those jerks!?" Chloe snapped while pointing at Zenith Fantasy.

"There's no way we can do that!" Lexi added, clenching his fist. "Those assholes are nothing but pure evil!"

"Dude, language!" Grace chided. "There are children here!"

"As if you have any right to care about them right now!"

"Everybody, please stay calm," the Master of Masters stated. "You don't need to work together. Although, I won't lie: doing so would definitely help with the upcoming problems. You can tackle any of Boscha's forms whenever you want, wherever you like. Until then, just focus on getting ready."

And so, the Master faced Boscha again, folding his arms behind his back as everybody walked out of the Car.

"Hey," Simon said as Zenith Fantasy approached Phos and Chris. "So, how are you holding up?"

"I've been better, but I've also been worse," Phos answered with a shrug. "As you probably know."

Simon winced at the memory of Phos as sentient shards.

"Hey, if you ever need help with something, just give us a call," Grace remarked. "We do still owe you one for your help in the Archfiends Car."

Phos smiled. "I'll consider it."

And with that said, Phos and Chris walked through a door, while Zenith Fantasy walked through another, this one taking them outside the Car, allowing the group to catch their breath.

"Well... that was emotionally exhausting," Lucy sighed. "I never thought things would go down the way they did."

"We can think about that another day," Grace remarked. "For now, let's go to the Cat's Car to rest-"

"Simon, Grace," Alex said fearfully. "The Red Lotus girl is glaring at us."

The group turned around and saw Chloe walking towards them, sporting a furious glare above all else.

"What do you want now?" Simon asked sternly.

"Let's not lie to ourselves: you're nothing more than a collection of terrible people who had Boscha's beating coming for a long time. In fact, that's not even enough. But this isn't about how you deserve to be converted into the very beings you tortured, or how you deserve to be eaten by one of those weird dog-cockroach things."

"I believe those are called Ghoms," Atticus pointed out.

"This is about helping a Passenger move past her trauma, and ensure she doesn't destroy the Train before you get what's coming to you!"

Lindsay rolled her eyes. "What a heroic mindset."

"Thank you, I get that a lot!" Chloe snapped. "Point is, we might be working together, but once Boscha's dealt with, you're next! Got it!?"

Simon narrowed his eyes. "Crystal."

And with that, Zenith Fantasy began their trek back to the Cat's Car, Chloe and Lexi glaring at them as they left, while Atticus looked positively worried.

One thing was for certain, things were far from over.

Chapter Text

Okay, after the brutal fight and revelations on the Infinity Train, now's the time to get a brutal fight and revelations in the Boiling Isles, which also serves as the second part of the Act 1 finale.

Fun! XD

Before we begin, I think there's something worth explaining, and that's the situation between Boscha and Chloe.

Now, obviously, the former has come to hate the latter, which was particularly made evident moments before she died.

But why? Well, think of their backgrounds for a second.

Chloe suffered a traumatic event known as "The Spearow incident" that caused her to become both paranoid and untrusting of people, and ESPECIALLY Pokémon.

However, this distrust and paranoia is so great, not only does she constantly refuses any help, believing she can't trust a therapist, but then she decides to skip school and run away because she thinks her classmates are gonna prank her.

She has her reasons for this, but you can't deny that this doesn't paint a good picture on her.

Now, compare her to Boscha. She was born on the literal stomach of a Titan's corpse, a place where those who aren't strong are either weakened overtime, or outright killed by being melted and devoured by the stomach. Couple THAT with being born to the Urodelas, the rulers of the place, who fancy themselves as the strongest ones there are, an Apex, whose job is to help others grow stronger and stay strong.

AND THEN add the tea party fiasco between Boscha and Amity, which caused Boscha to be mentally and psychologically TORTURED into thinking that if she wasn't the strongest there ever was, that she wasn't an Apex, then she would be killed: either by the myriads of monsters living on the Isles, or the very toxic and corrosive environment of the Underworld.

But the biggest source of her rage, comes from their reaction to getting help.

Chloe has been constantly given a number to a therapist, and yet she constantly refuses it out of paranoia that this will end badly for her.

Boscha wanted to be helped, but she couldn't: she was an Apex. And an Apex was meant to help, not be helped, since they're the strongest around.

Also, remember Boscha thought Chloe was strong: that was back when she thought she was a great warrior who went through the same hurdles as she did, but the memory she saw completely threw those ideas out the window.

"So, let me get this straight: this girl is given more help and concern in one day than I ever got in my entire life, and she throws it away on a whim!? And then she decides to run away from her problems over a damn possibility?! This girl isn't Strong! She's just a Weakling who boasts that she's Strong! She's a Fraud!"

And Boscha hates Frauds.

So, yeah, Boscha's got quite the beef with Chloe. However, will it carry over to any of her Denizen forms?

That, my friends, is something that's yet to be seen.

Also, we're going back to the Boiling Isles for this and next chapter, and when those are done, a breather chapter.

Because man oh man, these are going to get intense.

But anyhow, let's get a move on.


"You told her what?!"

Willow and Gus exclaimed that in unison as Luz flashed a smile.

"I told Amity that Skara told me about how she and Boscha met," Luz explained. "And when she asked me what happened, I told her that if she wanted answers, she'd need to consult Skara."

Gus sighed. "Another one of your schemes, Luz?"

The human girl nodded. "This time, I'm planning to help Amity and Skara make amends and become friends at last!"

"Luz, Amity and Skara hate each other's guts!" Willow pointed out. "Even if you were to tell them what your plan was, they'd still be unable to be in the same room without beating each other up!"

"That's only because they focus on their own hatred of each other!" Luz pointed out with a sneaky smile. "So, if we give them something to talk about and focus on instead, like say, Boscha and Skara's past, they might be able to come to a mutual desire to know each other!"

"Luz, you've been dating Amity for a while now," Gus folded his arms. "How could you possibly not realize this is going to go wrong?"

"Come on, guys, have a little faith!" Luz put her hands on her hips with a confident smile. "Amity and Skara will come out of this just fine! Now come on, let's get lunch!"

Luz took the lead to the cafeteria, Willow and Gus exchanging worried looks before they followed her.


Amity didn't want to do this. She really didn't. After everything that had happened recently, resorting to this was something she hoped would never come to pass.

Alas, she had far too many questions left in her head, and if there was someone who could give her the answers she was looking for, it was one certain Bard.

And besides, Luz told her to do it. Surely this wouldn't be one of her many zany schemes that didn't end well, right?

... Right?

So, against all odds, Amity was going to do the most dangerous thing she's ever done in her life... and have lunch with Skara.

"Hello, Skara," she said as she sat down.

"Amity?" Skara raised an eyebrow. "Why are you sitting here? Don't you usually have lunch with Luz?"

"I normally do, yeah," Amity looked to the horizon, where Luz was having lunch with Willow and Gus. "But she decided she wants to have lunch with her friends today, and I decided to leave her alone."

"Why not join them, though?" Skara folded her arms. "I mean, I don't know if you've noticed, but since you're Luz's girlfriend, you're gonna have to hang around her friends eventually."

"I know, but it doesn't change the fact that it's awkward: I mean, we're talking about my former best friend that I bullied for many years, and a little boy that's crazy for humans," Amity shrugged. "With that kind of company, what am I supposed to do?"

"Try."

Amity had to hold herself back from slapping Skara at that moment. Even if she was nicer than Boscha, there were times she was much more annoying than her, too.

"Regardless, there's another reason why I sat down here with you," Amity clasped her fingers together. "I need... some answers."

"If it's about your new status as a Pseudo-Abomination, then I got nothing," Skara shook her head. "I mean, I guess I could tell you to watch yourself from-"

"No, not that."

"Then, how am I holding up after my Griffin stage? I've done good, though some of the residue's a little bothersome. It's mostly the bird stuff, but there's some spider stuff here and there."

Skara coughed until she released a web shaped like a ball. And Amity wasn't sure what was worse: that Skara hadn't fully recovered from her phase as a pseudo-griffin, which Eda implied would be something she'd have to live with for the rest of her life...

Or the fact that Skara had realized what she meant to ask. Now she couldn't ask that without admitting she was right, and stroking Skara's ego wasn't something she wanted to do right now.

"Would you shut up and listen to me for one second!? I need you to tell me-"

Amity paused, realizing Skara had already just told her about her griffin recovery thing. As in, she was fine, and that was it.

But was that really it? Skara was the kind of person who'd keep her true feelings bottled up just to not worry anybody, and after the whole "be intimidated into making a potion for a griffin only to drink it" deal, she probably had a lot in her mind...

Come to think of it, Amity had a lot in her head, too, especially considering this one thing Luz mentioned...

"Luz mentioned that you told her something about your and Boscha's past. What was it?"

Hearing that, Skara narrowed her eyes and began eating her food, paying little attention to Amity.

"Why aren't you answering me?!"

"Amity, let's not lie to ourselves for once: you just want me to give you a reason to further demonize Boscha."

"No, I want to know what Boscha did to you in order to help you break out of this mentality that she's anything but a terrible person!"

"But why?!" Skara cried, slamming her fist down the table. "You hate me and Boscha both, what do you have to gain by doing this besides-"

Then, Skara connected the dots, which made her anger surged further.

"I see. So that's how it is."

"What?"

"You're not asking about what Boscha did to me because you actually care; you're asking me because I told Luz, and she hasn't told you!"

"Wha-where did you get that idea?!" Amity furrowed her brow. "And even if it's true, is it really too much to ask to know what happened between you and Boscha?!"

Skara paused. "Did Luz tell you about the letter?"

Amity raised an eyebrow. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"Did she, or did she not, Amity?"

Amity took a deep breath and rolled her eyes. "Yeah, she did."

"Then it makes even more sense: You can't process the fact that Boscha would do anything as nice as helping you and the girl you crush on together, so you're trying to find any excuse to make her come across as evil to make yourself feel better," Skara smirked. "I gotta say, Amity, that's the most Blight thing you've ever done."

Amity's expression soured. "Shut up."

"I bet you're utterly anxious right now," Skara rested her cheek on her palm. "I mean, if it took Boscha's letter to make Luz see you were into her, how much longer would it have taken her to learn it on her own? Who else knows about this "secret" if it's so obvious that Boscha can see it? Gus? Eileen? Bo? Cat? Amelia? Maybe even Willow?!"

Amity gritted her teeth. "Shut up, Skara."

"Why?" Skara narrowed her eyes. "Is poor little Amity unable to take what she dishes out!?"

"I said..."

Amity grabbed her tray and raised it.

"SHUT UP!"

Amity threw the tray at Skara, who ducked just in time for it to hit the ground... and catch the attention of Principal Bump, who was walking by.

The principal narrowed his his eyes and faced the direction where the tray was thrown, with Amity yelling "she started it!" while pointing at Skara, who waved her hand with a nervous smile.


Shortly after that, Luz, Willow, and Gus walked down the hallways, the former scratching her chin while the latter two looked worried.

"Well, that was an absolute failure," Willow dryly remarked. "Maybe we should explain to Principal Bump what happened."

"Yeah, Luz, we shouldn't push our luck," Gus added. "Things were already going pretty badly before Principal Bump stepped in. Let's end this before it's too late-"

"No! Not yet! There's still hope!" Luz chirped, snapping her fingers with a smile. "Amity and Skara couldn't talk things out because we were there; now that they're alone, they might be able to come to an understanding!"

"Luz, come on-"

"Guys, please, just trust me!" Luz clasped her hands. "Amity and Skara will come to an agreement!"

Luz stopped, and her smile faltered.

"They... they will... right?"


Next thing they knew, Skara and Amity sat at the principal's office, the latter covering her face with her hands while the former, quite honestly, couldn't care less about her current predicament.

"I'm never gonna hear the end of this."

Skara briefly stole a glance at Amity, then took out a "flat claw sharpener" and sharpened her fingernails.

"For decades, the Blights have been perfect students! Not once did they ever go to detention, or were sent to the principal's office, but now?! I'm the first Blight to be sent here! My siblings are gonna mock me until the end of time, and my parents are gonna be so disappointed they might even disown me!"

Then, Amity clenched her fists and turned to Skara, snapping:

"And this is all your fault!"

Yet again, Skara stole a glance at Amity. And once again, she quickly went back to what she was doing.

"Don't ignore me when I'm talking to you!"

Skara crossed her legs and turned away, checking out her nails as Amity hopped off her chair and began pacing back and forth, ranting all the while:

"You're not the only one who's been through hard times, okay?! Ever since Boscha ran away like she did, nothing has been going right for me! Sure, Luz and I got together, which is great, but then I'm tricked into thinking my parents were kidnapped, forced to reveal the ugly truth about what happened with Boscha, then have a certain someone tell Luz something about her past that she refuses to tell me-!"

"Are excuses the only things that come out of your mouth?"

Amity stopped, and glared at the Bard. "What did you say?"

"Let's not lie to ourselves any longer, alright, Mittens?" Skara got off her chair and saved her "sharpener" before adding. "Every time something goes wrong in your life, you look for the first person you can blame, and sometimes, especially when the one to blame is somebody you can't deal with, you find someone else to try force them to bear the load instead."

"Don't try to make me look like the bad guy here, okay?!" Amity snapped, jumping off her table and pointing at Skara. "If you had just spilled the beans about what you told Luz, we wouldn't be here!"

"Wrong, Amity," Skara narrowed her eyes. "If you had just swallowed your pride and curiosity and let Luz tell you about what she heard eventually, we wouldn't be here! The one at fault here is you!"

Amity took a step back and opened her mouth, but she quickly closed it and groaned.

"About time you shut up and thought about your choices."

That was all Amity needed to hear to explode. She grabbed a chair, got ready to strike...

And a simple melody from Skara's flute caused her to freeze in place.

"Oh, sorry, did I forgot to tell you?" Skara smirked and turned around. "There's a specific melody that allows the user to take control of Abominations, and it just so happens to be effective on Pseudo-Abominations as well."

Amity gritted her teeth and growled as Skara looked at her, then forced her to put the chair down and stand in place as she headed for the door.

"Where are you going!?"

"I got better things to do than humor your temper tantrums, Amity," Skara stated as she opened the door. "I'm going to go outside, you'll be left alone, and I hope you've calmed down by then. Because you already nearly broke somebody with a fight that you wound up regretting."

Skara faced Amity and pocketed her flute.

"Don't let history repeat itself."

And with that said, Skara left the room, and Amity got to move again. Not that she did much except clenching fists and gritting her teeth in anger as her veins glowed purple...

Skara walked away from the principal's office for a moment... only to stop halfway from it and sigh while rubbing her head.

"That was too harsh, even for Amity," she remarked before scratching her chin. "Once she manages to calm down, if she does, I should apologize for what happened-"

"SKAAAARAAAAA!"

The Bard turned around, and to her horror, a pair of Abominations burst from the door and ran to Skara, quickly grabbing and restraining her before she could grab her flute, which an Abomination handed Amity, now in her Pseudo-Abomination form, as she walked to the Bard.

"I wanted to try to talk with you! I wanted to try stand you! But then you go and make it impossible!"

"You're the one who wants to use me to find out more about Boscha, like everybody else!" Skara eyed the Abominations. "And also, where did the Abominations come from?"

"A nifty little trick thanks to being a Pseudo-Abomination, I guess," Amity narrowed her eyes. "But I wonder what trick you'll get to pull off without a flute!"

Amity raised the flute, then snapped it against her knee while Skara looked on in shock and horror.

"And that's what you get for pissing me off!" Amity growled as she threw the broken flute pieces on the floor. "Now, if you know what's good for you, you better apologize for getting us in trouble with the Principal!"

Upon hearing that, Skara flashed a murderous look at Amity, right before baring her fangs and breaking free of the Abominations' grasp, tackling and taking Amity through the hallways afterwards.

"What?! I thought you lost the wings after your transformation wore off!"

Skara didn't answer: instead, she kept rolling with Amity until they left the school, jumping off the stairs and crashing on the floor before Skara sliced Amity's arm off.

Luz and her group arrived just in time to see what was happening, and witness Amity scream before her arm reformed, slowly but surely.

"Huh? Regeneration?"

"Pretty cool, isn't it?" Skara cracked her knuckles. "Well, let me show you the downsides to it!"

Skara grabbed Amity by the neck of her shirt, spread her wings, and flew up before flying back down, dragging Amity's face through the floor as they headed to the school, with Skara then dragging her up the walls of Hexside before launching her into the air.

Once high enough, Amity quickly regained her balance and drew a circle in the air, giving her boots a pair of bat wings that she used to fly away before Skara could tackle her, the winged witch flying back down to meet Amity's stern glare.

"Oh no, this isn't how it was supposed to happen!" Luz exclaimed, putting her hands on her face as the green-grey pair began duking it out. "We gotta do something about this!"

"Luz, you go tell Principal Bump about this!" Willow stated as she and Gus looked at the fight. "Gus and I'll try to buy you time!"

Luz nodded, and immediately ran back inside the school, leaving Willow to summon a set of giant vines to take her and Gus straight to the skies.

However, Skara and Amity quickly took their fight to the rooftop, prompting Gus and Willow to follow them. Amity ran off to hide behind a wall, Skara simply landing calmly at the side and walking towards Amity's hiding spot.

"You're not so tough without a lackey by your side, huh, Amity?!"

"Says the witch who can't do anything without an instrument!" Amity spat back.

Skara bared her fangs and claws...

"Skara!"

The winged witch turned around, and saw Willow and Gus slide down the vine and onto the rooftop.

"You don't need to do this!"

Skara silently narrowed her eyes and clenched her fists.

"I know it's very tempting to beat up Amity for how she treated you! Believe me, I've been on your shoes before! But it's not worth crossing the point of no return-!"

"I already crossed it when I chose to stick by Boscha's side!" Skara yelled. "Just like how Amity crossed it when she beat up Boscha with a chair!"

Amity gasped but stayed hidden, while both Willow and Skara flinched and stood stunned, the latter looking legitimately lost as to what to do next.

Unfortunately, Gus used the moment to interfere, summoning a glowing illusion.

"Ilgusion! Attack!"

The illusion ran to Skara, who snapped back to reality to see the incoming attack, and hissed before swinging her claws at the illusion...

Causing it to smirk as it was engulfed in light.

"What the-"


Hexside shook violently as an the panicking students fell to the floor, Luz included. As the shaking ceased, they all stood back up and continued running away...

Except for Mattholomule, who laid on the ground hugging something close to his chest, and Viney, who stood up and dusted herself.

"Mattholomule, Viney, get up!" Luz said with a panicked tone. "I'll go get Principal Bump! You have to run away; Amity and Skara are fighting each other and they're not holding back!"

"Yeah, we know," Mattholomule sighed as he got on his knees. "And I think we know why..."

Mattholomule unveiled the object he was hugging... the broken pieces of Skara's flute.

Seeing this, Luz looked positively horrified... then got an idea.

"Viney, could you do me a favor?!"


The smoke cloud on the rooftop spread as the trio of Amity, Gus, and Willow slid down the vines to the ground, joining the running students once they landed safely.

"Where did you learn how to do that?!" Amity asked in disbelief.

"I found a book about illusions, and searched it until I found the "exploding illusion" page!"

"Well, that was quite convenient!"

Willow looked around the scenery, hoping to find a place to hide Amity until Skara calmed down, but the only thing she could see were the students running as fast and far away from Hexside as they could.

This continued until eventually, an avian screech was heard, followed by Viney and Puddles flying down and snatching the trio with the latter's claws.

"Viney!" Amity exclaimed.

"Looks like I arrived just in time!" Viney remarked with a little smile. "Are you guys okay?"

"Yeah, but just barely!" Willow answered. "You're the expert on Griffins, right?! Can you tell us anything that could help us deal with Skara?!"

Viney blushed and looked elsewhere. "I-I wouldn't call myself an expert, persay-"

"Just tell us what you know!" Amity barked.

"Ugh, fine: first and foremost, they're incredibly agile, but not that tough. That explosion just now should leave Skara knocked out for a moment."

"Well, that's a relief," Amity sighed, oblivious to Viney's disapproving glare. "Oh! She told me she got the bird parts from the griffin, with only a small side of spider parts. Is that good or bad?"

"Well, on the one hand, the bird side of the griffin doesn't have as many powers as the spider half, simply wings and claws. On the other hand, they don't need it, since their wings are strong enough to block magic attacks, and their beaks and claws can impale and skewer an adult Witch."

Amity gulped, grabbing her throat and stomach with her hands.

"And last, but certainly not least, Griffins can be quite vindictive if provoked," Viney rolled her eyes. "And if one's provoked, it'll take either a long time venting, or killing the one who provoked them to calm them down."

"And what does it take to provoke one of them?" Willow asked.

"Some are quite patient, some take no effort at all, but regardless, there are certain things that will anger them no matter what," Viney tapped her chin. "Like, for example..."

Viney shot a furious glare at Amity.

"Breaking something of value to them."

Amity grimaced, but before she could ask what Viney meant, Gus brought up a terrifying question:

"Uh, Viney, why are we flying back to the rooftop?"

Everybody turned around, and saw they were indeed heading to the rooftop, where an unconscious Skara laid on the ground.

"Oh, don't worry, Gus," Viney said. "I'm not taking you or Willow there."

Then she grabbed Amity's shirt.

"I'm taking Amity there."

Before anybody could react, Viney threw Amity to the rooftop, the Pseudo-Abomination rolling until she hit the wall.

Amity quickly stood up and ran to the edge, stomping the ground yelling:

"Viney, what the hell are you doing!?"

"You really can't connect the dots, Amity? You and Skara may've bullied each other, but you insisted on doing something that threw Skara over the edge: you snapped her flute in half!"

Gus gasped. "You did what, Amity?!"

"Seriously?! You're gonna believe the psycho who wants me skewered alive!?" Amity snapped. "She doesn't even have proof!"

Viney reached for her pocket, and took out Skara's broken flute, a sight that sent shivers down everyone's spines.

"Does this count as proof?"

Amity began sweating as she looked everywhere, conveniently missing Skara's body twitching.

"That doesn't prove anything!" Amity stated. "That could be anyone's flute!"

Viney smirked. "I didn't hear you deny you broke it."

"I don't need to deny anything! And even if I did, there's nothing to deny!" Amity yelled as Gus and Willow looked at the flute up close. "I did nothing wrong! And that flute-"

"Is Skara's."

Amity winced. "What?"

Willow sighed and turned to the Blight. "Skara's the only student in Hexside who uses this flute."

"B-But that's impossible! How can you even tell?! There are dozens of instruments in Hexside!"

"Yeah, but," Gus flipped his flute piece, revealing Skara's name written on it. "I doubt any of them have Skara's name written on it."

Amity winced and pinches her nose, taking a deep breath before Viney scoffed:

"Still gonna deny you broke it?" 

"... Fine! I admit it! I broke Skara's flute, but she deserved it!" Amity snapped. "She played a song to control me in order to avoid the chair in the face she had coming!" 

"The what in the face?!" Gus and Willow shouted in unison.

"I-I mean, the point is, she had it coming, okay?! If she had controlled you with a song, wouldn't you want to break her flute right on her face, too?!"

Willow covered her mouth with her hand, while Gus shivered, grabbing Viney's arm as the Beastkeeping student stated:

"This is your last chance, Amity. You either admit you did something wrong, or you keep denying your blame in this situation. Your choice."

"Amity, please, this is serious!" Willow blurted in a panic. "Just admit you did something wrong before you regret it!"

Amity frowned at the sight of Willow's worried face, but once she turned to Viney... she sealed her fate.

"I. Did. Nothing. Wrong!"

Viney looked disinterested for a moment... before looking stern.

"Have fun being skewered alive."

Puddles flew down, leaving Amity at the mercy of Skara, who stood behind her and growled with her fangs bared before tackling the Blight.

The two plummeted to the ground, and once they crashed, they spun for a bit before landing at the center of the frontyard.

Skara then began pummeling Amity, the Pseudo-Abomination's regeneration keeping her from getting too disfigured by the continued beating.

"Amity!" Willow cried as Puddles reached the ground and the witches got off. "Come on, we gotta help-"

But Viney stopped her and Gus both. "Let them vent. They need it."

"But they're gonna kill each other!" Gus pointed out.

Viney winced, but kept her grip on Willow and Gus with a pained expression.

This kept going for a while until Amity reached for her back, took out a paper with an ice glyph drawn on it, and showed it to Skara.

The winged witch barely got time to notice the glyph before an icicle emerged from it, sending Skara flying and tumbling back...

And piercing her left eye, a fact only made clear when Amity stood up and Skara lowered her head.

As if that wasn't enough, that was the moment Luz returned with Principal Bump by her side.

"Thanks for accepting to help me, Principal Bump! I assure you that-MY GOD!"

Everybody gasped with horror as Skara tried as hard as she could to stand on her feet, and she didn't help herself by what she did next: she grabbed the icicle and ripped it right off her socket, a pool of blood emerging from it as Skara threw the bloodied icicle on the floor and lowered her head, now on the verge of collapsing.

But despite looking shocked for a moment, Amity's shock soon turned into jumpy distrust, as Skara began stepping uneasily towards her.

"Why..."

Skara slowly raised her head, sniffing as tears rolled down her cheeks, the Bard student barely keeping herself together despite all the pain.

"Why do you hate us?! Why do you hate Boscha?! Why do you hate me?!"

"Don't twist my words! I was the one being hated here!" Amity snapped, shedding tears herself. "What with Boscha wanting to put me under her heel, and you not only approving it, but forcing me to deal with her!"

"I didn't approve of Boscha's brutal methods! I didn't then and I don't now!" Skara gritted her teeth. "But unlike you, I didn't just took our first meeting at first glance and assume that was all there was to her!"

"And when did she ever even imply there was something else to her!? Huh!?" Amity snapped. "When has Boscha acted like she gives a damn about anybody!? Hell, when has she ever acted like she gave a damn about you!?"

Skara winced, and the atmosphere quickly turned tense, especially around Luz's group.

"S-She cares about me! She just... h-has an unique way to show it!"

"Oh come on, Skara, stop lying to yourself! Stop lying to everybody! Boscha doesn't care about you, or anybody else!" Amity snarled, taking a step forward before spreading her arms. "The only person Boscha cares about is herself! And the only thing she cares about is demeaning everybody else in order to make herself feel better! Make herself feel superior!"

"SHE ONLY ACTS LIKE THAT BECAUSE YOU BROKE HER! BECAUSE YOU BULLIED AND BEAT HER UP UNTIL SHE LOST ALL CONFIDENCE!"

"SO WHAT!?"

Amity's yelling echoed across the area as Skara fell silent, dropping to the ground as the Blight reached her and continued:

"So what if I was a bit harsh on her!? So what if what I told her ate away her confidence!? She had it coming! She had EVERYTHING coming! She paraded around the place like she was Emperor Belos or something, AND I! PUT! HER! IN! HER! PLACE! It was up to her whether the next time we met she got her act together, or she showed her real colors and revealed the sick excuse of a witch that she was! And guess what? SHE CHOSE THE LATTER!"

Amity punted Skara's face, then grabbed and lifted her by the neck of her uniform.

"And besides, it's not like this is all my fault! If you didn't try to push me and Boscha so hard to become "friends", none of this would've happened!"

Skara sniffed and whimpered. "I-I just wanted us three to become friends-"

"AND I WANTED NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU! Both you and Boscha were nothing more than tools to try give my parents more power! The "friendship" that we had was never real!"

Amity dropped Skara, the Bard clutching her arm as the Blight continued once more:

"And you wanna know what's the most infuriating thing about this!? I had to give up my friendship with Willow for this stupid alliance to work! I had to drive away the only real friend I had, all to try become friends with a pair of spoiled asshats like you two-!"

"Your parents were the ones who forced you to break your friendship with Willow! Boscha and I only knew that we were gonna have a new friend, and that was it!" Skara spat, trying to stand up again. "So why did you take it out on us!? Why did you beat us up and condemn us for something your parents did!?"

"Because YOU were the reason I was forced to break it off!"

Amity kicked Skara right in the face, sending a couple teeth flying.

Luz tried to move in that moment, but a stern Principal Bump stopped her.

"You and Boscha accepted the idea! You and Boscha went along with the plan with no issue! You and Boscha harassed me until I agreed to stoop to your level! And you and Boscha had the gall to bully Willow after the fact, and while I was there to watch it!"

Willow frowned and lowered her head, unable to deny Amity's accusations.

Amity rolled Skara up, then got on top of her, holding both her arms down while glaring at her, hissing:

"So, with all that in mind, what do you have to say now, huh? What smartass counterargument do you have!? What could you say right now that could make anything that you did justified!?"

Skara looked stunned for a few seconds, utterly speechless at Amity's furious scowl... until, eventually, she meekly replied:

"I... I didn't know... we didn't know... you felt that way..."

Amity's anger loosened, replaced with shock and a hint of regret as Skara kept talking:

"All I knew... was that m-my Dad... a-and Boscha's parents... and y-your parents... t-t-they... they said... they wanted us to be your... f-f-friends..."

Amity shivered and shook her head. "N-No, no! Y-You're lying! You had to have known about the alliance! My parents told me about it, why didn't yours tell you anything about it!?"

"Because... your parents w-wanted the alliance... m-my dad... he wanted us... to get friends..."

Amity's eyes widened, trying and failing to process the statement as Skara continued:

"I told Boscha... she'd drive you away if she... kept acting like she did... So, I... I convinced her..."

"Of what?"

Skara sniffed, barely containing her tears before Amity grabbed her shoulders tightly and shook her.

"Don't leave me hanging, Skara! What did you convince her to do!?"

"To drop her fire powers and her sour attitude for your birthday party!"

With the memory of what she did during that day swarming her, Amity dropped Skara, the Bard yelping in pain before Amity snapped back to reality.

"B-But why would you do that?! How would you do that?! And most importantly, why didn't you get the hint and just disappear with Boscha!"

"I did... get the hint-"

"Then why did you stay!? Why didn't you just disappear from my life!?"

"Because... I genuinely... wanted to be your friend... was that *sniff* too much to ask?"

Skara began to cry... But then the light in her eyes slowly vanished as Amity saw her flash between being Skara and Boscha.

"No..."

Amity looked around her, and the scenery flickered between the Hexside frontyard, and the very same room where she and Boscha had their fateful little argument.

"Nonononono!"

Amity turned back to Skara, and shook her... with the girl showing no response.

"Not again... Not again..."

Amity grabbed Skara, lifted her in a bridal carry, and ran back inside the school while shouting, with tears in her eyes:

"NOT AGAAAAIN!"


A few moments later, Skara laid on the infirmary bed, with bandaged wrapped around the left side of her face, eye included.

Amity watched her through the window, and when she backed away, she nearly collapsed before Luz helped her get up.

"What just happened? What just happened?! What just happened?!"

"Well, for a short summary," Willow said, adjusting her glasses. "A moment that could've been used to bond with Skara turned into an outright brawl where you mercilessly beat the stuffing out of her."

"And I..." Luz scratched her head. "Might have something to do with this..."

Amity frowned. "What?"

"I'll explain everything soon... but be ready to freak out."

With that said, Luz took Amity out of the hallway, with Willow and Gus following soon after, but not before looking at the infirmary with concern.


Several hours passed before Skara's eyes opened once more. She found herself at the infirmary at Hexside, with two familiar faces standing nearby.

"Hi there, Skara," Viney's voice spoke. "Are you feeling better?"

Skara slowly stood up, her eyes slowly regaining their lights as she took a deep breath.

"You got a pretty rough beating today, so the nurse asked me to help her with your healing," Viney added. "Luckily, the glyphs worked wonderfully: you just need to rest a little longer and you should be good as new."

"And in the meantime," Mattholomule said while reaching for his pocket. "I found something while helping with building back the walls that were destroyed in your fight with Amity."

Mattholomule took out Skara's flute, now back in one piece, which caught her attention as she grabbed and inspected it.

"I was told this flute means a lot to you, so I took the liberty of fixing it." Mattholomule scratched his head. "I was quite puzzled though: how did it-"

"Amity snapped it in half right in front of my eyes."

Mattholomule immediately shut his mouth, and what came next was a long, awkward silence as Skara pocketed the flute, and remained silent for a moment...

"Amity was right..."

Viney and Mattholomule exchanged looks, and turned back to Skara.

"Amity always knew that Boscha was a nasty piece of work, and I... I was so blinded by the kindness she showed me when I was younger, I turned a blind eye to all of that."

Skara began snickering as she shed tears.

"I hung around a raging psychopath, following her every word without question... and I didn't even stop to think that what I was doing was wrong! That what she was doing was wrong! And now, everybody sees me as either a punching bag to vent their frustrations about her, or an easy way to deal with Boscha without actually dealing with her!"

"Not everybody sees you like that-"

"Oh, don't even try to act like you weren't part of the mob, Viney! Tell me, would you have even said "hi" to me before Boscha took Puddles for a joy ride, and you used me to try make a potion to cure their wounds!?"

Viney took a step back, and scratched her head while avoiding eye contact.

"And you, Mattholomule! Would you have given me the time of day if I wasn't the best way to get you and Boscha hooked up together!? If I didn't have any ties to the girl you're crushing on, you wouldn't have even noticed me, would you!?"

"Wait a minute," Viney eyed Mattholomule. "You're the one with a crush on Boscha?! I mean, I guess it makes more sense than Boscha crushing on you, but still-"

"That doesn't matter!" Skara yelled. "All that matters is that people only care about me because of my connection to Boscha! Nobody cares about me because of me! Not either you, not any of my classmates, not any of the teachers, and sure as hell not Amity!"

Skara grabbed the pillow and began screaming on it for a moment, the pillow exploding soon after. Skara then took several deep breaths, while the duo of Viney and Mattholomule pondered what to do now.

"And the worst part of it is... that it doesn't matter what I do, nothing will change. Because unlike the Underworld, the Isles don't kill those who're too weak. Sure, monsters roam around and are more than happy to devour those they come across, but the Isles themselves are perfectly habitable."

Skara narrowed her eyes. "Boscha has wronged lots of people because she thinks the Isles are the same as the Underworld, a thought process she wouldn't even have if it wasn't for Amity!"

"Yeah, we," Viney frowned. "We overheard your little argument with Amity during your fight."

"And I never even thought about it," Mattholomule added. "I mean, I know Boscha and Amity never got along, but if what she said was true-"

"Who cares if she was telling truth? True or false, everybody would believe her. After all, who sounds more trustworthy: the proud, prodigious daughter of the Blights, or the deranged pyromaniac daughter of the Urodelas, who burns people who even so slightly annoy her?"

Skara looked out the window with a melancholic look.

"The truth is, Amity could get away with anything, and especially if she did it to me, because nobody sees me as anything other than an extension of Boscha. And if I'm nothing more than an extension of her, then clearly, I deserve nothing but pain and misery, don't I?"

"No! Of course not!" Viney said, waving her hands. "Nobody deserves that!"

"Well, guess what? As long as I stay on this accursed place, that's the only thing I'm ever going to get." Skara lowered her head and furrowed her brow. "Nothing but pain, and misery, and anger, and a bunch of idiots demanding me to make up for something that Boscha did."

Skara grabbed her bedsheets and threw them away, hopping off the bed and stomping away as she muttered:

"And I refuse to stay here any longer!"

"Skara, wait, where are you going?!" Mattholomule asked. "The nurse said you needed-"

"Screw what the nurse thinks! She's as much of an Amity sycophant as everybody else in this damn school!" Skara yelled, stomping the ground as she yelled. "Amity already showed me the true nature of Boscha! And with it, I got to recognize the true nature of the Isles! As long as I'm here, and as long as I'm seen as nothing more than Boscha's friend, this place will yank my chain time and time again, all to please a bunch of cowards who couldn't do anything about Boscha!"

Skara stomped towards the duo as she added:

"So I'm gonna leave this Titan forsaken place, I'm gonna return to the Boiling Underworld, and I will not return until I'm strong enough to take whatever the Isles wants to throw at me, but return it tenfold! Now tell me, is Principal Bump available?!"

Viney gulped. "Skara, m-maybe you should calm down-"

"IS HE OR NOT AVAILABLE!?"

The very school shook violently as Skara's scream echoed across the hallways, Mattholomule jumping into Viney's arms as he answered:

"Yes! He's available! W-W-We just saw him head to his office!"

"Good!" Skara narrowed her eyes. "Because I need to talk to him about something..."


"Leaving Hexside?"

Principal Bump asked that while looking at Skara, who sat on a chair with her arms folded, a worried Viney and Mattholomule behind her.

"This is quite a sudden request, Skara," Bump answered, clasping his hands as he added. "We're in the middle of a semester, and while I can understand why you wouldn't want to stay here, I need to talk with your father about-"

"With all due respect, Principal Bump," Skara narrowed her eyes. "I'm not asking for your permission to leave Hexside."

Viney and Mattholomule exchanged concerned looks, growing more worried as the discussion continued.

"What are you trying to say, Skara?"

"I'm saying, that now that I see the true, rotten nature of this place, I'm not only leaving Hexside."

Skara got off her chair.

"I'm leaving the Boiling Isles... and heading back, to the Boiling Underworld."

With her words spoken, Skara walked out the door, Viney and Mattholomule's jaws dropping as they realized what this meant.

"Skara, wait a minute! You can't just leave like that!" Principal Bump stood up and slammed his fist down the desk. "And even if you want to leave, why would you go to the Boiling Underworld?! Going back to that giant death trap is insane!"

"Equally insane would be to willingly stay on a world populated by people who only see me as a walking, talk stress reliever toy!" Skara proclaimed as she opened the door. "I'm done being pushed around by people too cowardly to take their issues to Boscha! I'm done being forced to bear the burden of Boscha's mistakes! And you can bet your ass I'm done being used as a scapegoat! I'm done with the Boiling Isles!"

Then, Skara calmed down, and walked out.

"So, farewell, Principal Bump. I hope the next time we met, it's under more... civil, circumstances."

With that said, Skara slammed the door shut, causing cracks on the doorframe as she walked away.


Once school was over, Skara immediately headed to the spot in the frontyard where she and Amity beat each other up, and began fixing it up the only way she knew.

By playing a tune in her flute.

To her former classmates' credit, they didn't bother her while she played the tune, and even after the blood and cracked floor were reversed out of the floor, they still left her alone.

As much as she'd hate to admit it, it's probably only because her and Amity's fight was so brutal to begin with.

"Excuse me, Skara?"

The flutist turned around, and to her surprise, Principal Bump stood behind her, arms folded behind his back as he added:

"Could we talk for a moment?"

Skara rolled her eyes. "I already told you everything I wanted to say back in your office, I'm not going back just to waste my breath."

"No, not in my office," Bump said before walking to a bench. "Here."

Skara raised a skeptical eyebrow at the offer, but what the heck, she already snapped at the man once and she was gonna leave the school forever anyway.

Might as well try to make their last meeting somewhat more amicable than her temper tantrum before.

So, she accepted, and sat down, crossing her arms and legs as the principal sat next to her.

"So... you're planning to leave Hexside?"

"I'm not changing my mind if that's what you're asking," Skara growled, avoiding eye contact with the principal. "I'm done with everything about Hexside. The teachers, the students, and especially Amity!"

"I know, and I'm not going to try change your mind," Bump sighed. "I was there to witness when Amity beat you up, and heard everything that she said. If that's any indication of how you've been treated here, then it really is for the best that you go somewhere else."

Skara's eyes widened, genuinely relieved yet confused. However, she quickly shook it off and hissed:

"What do you want, Bump?"

"Well, for starters, I'd like to get a full picture of what happened that lead to this decision," Bump sighed. "You and Amity threw a food tray at me, and then I had to leave to take care of some important business."

The man lowered his head and pinched his forehead. 

"I shouldn't have left you alone."

"No, you shouldn't have!" Skara spat.

Bump remained calm despite Skara's tone of voice.

"And Amity shouldn't have broken your flute right in your face."

"Oh, let me guess, "But at the same time, you shouldn't have used a control melody to keep Amity from beating you over the head with a chair!"

Bump remained quiet.

"And I agree with you, alright!? That was a step too far, I can't even try to deny the fact that I never should've done that, but it was either that or have my face caved in with a chair while Amity was excused, like always!"

"Like always?" Bump asked.

"Don't act dumb, Bump, we both know that Amity's such a talented Abomination magic user that she could get away with anything! It's just like with Boscha: nobody likes her, except when it comes to Grudgby, in which case they love her! All because she makes them look good in that regard!" Skara lowered her head and clenched her fists. "It's the exact same thing with Amity: she could've crippled me, killed me even, and the only thing people would be sad about is the fact they didn't get to do it themselves!"

Skara paused, shivering as she forced herself to add:

"Nobody here sees me as a person. I'm just a chew toy. Like one of those squeaky ball things from the Human world that you squeeze and squeeze to get your rage out!"

Bump took a deep breath, before flashing a smile.

"Well, if you do insist on going to the Boiling Underworld, there might be a silver lining to it."

Skara burst out laughing. "Yeah, right! Like what?"

Bump leaned closer to Skara's ear, and whispered:

"Like getting to meet your mother at last."

Bump leaned back as Skara's eyes widened.

"You know my Mom? How?!"

"She studied here at Hexside."

Skara gasped. "You're kidding me!"

"Nope, she really did study here. Went to the Healing track, and she was one of the best students we've ever had," Bump folded his arms. "She was born and raised on the Boiling Underworld, and that's where she was last seen. So, if you do go there, you'll get to meet her at last."

A wide smile formed on Skara's face, her eyes gaining a hopeful gleam to them.

 "However, Skara, I must insist on telling you to only move to the Boiling Underworld as a last resort," Bump added. "Tell me, isn't there anywhere else you could go?"

Skara scratched her chin, humming for a moment... until the ground shook, with baby Griffins flying away as the duo looked at the direction they flew away from.

"Did you hear that?"

"I felt that," Bump lowered his eyelids. "And I think I know who that was."


At Amity Blight's bedroom, Luz hit the floor, shivering as Amity, herself shaking while shedding heavy tears, dropped to her knees and stared at her, looking absolutely devastated.

"You... you... you..."

"I only wanted you and Skara to make peace and become friends," Luz sighed, looking away in shame. "I didn't want things to go as badly as they did. I honestly thought that if you two were left alone, you'd be able to come to a mutual understanding... and..."

Amity's expression contorted, her rage taking center stage once again as she hissed:

"Out..."

Luz raised her head. "Huh?"

Amity stood up, fists shaking. "Get... out!"

Luz stood up and dusted herself, sharing a pained look with Amity before she went to the window, and jumped off.

Amity, getting the wrong idea, immediately rushed to the window, only for Luz to rise up, tiny bat wings on her shoes.

They shared another look... and Amity glared before closing her window, at which point Luz sadly flew away.


Once Skara was back home, she didn't waste time packing her stuff, doing so even as her father entered her room, knocking the door twice before doing so.

"Hey there, sweetie."

"Hi... Wrath," Skara sighed. "Look, if you're here to convince me to stay here-"

"I'm not here to stop you."

Wrath walked to Skara's side and handed her something familiar:

The avian Palisman the Bat Queen gifted her.

"I'm here to make sure you don't forget this."

Skara grabbed the Palisman, and took a brief look at it.

"Why would I bring this? It's nothing but a reminder of the Isles."

"Wrong: it's a reminder of what you can achieve," Wrath folded his arms. "Do you really think the Bat Queen would have given you a Palisman if you hadn't satisfied her? You were the only one of your classmates who got a Palisman, remember?"

"Yeah, so?"

"Most of your classmates passed the test. All of them satisfied the Bat Queen somehow. And yet, you and you alone got a Palisman. I don't know about you, but that to me looks like proof that you can achieve great things."

Wrath ruffled Skara's hair. "So, though it pains me to let you go, you have my full support. If you wish to go to the Boiling Underworld to become stronger, I'm okay with it."

Skara giggled. "Dad, did you take some chill glyphs?"

Warden Wrath, covered in glyphs resembling suns with sunglasses, tilted his head.

"Whatever do you mean?"

Skara laughed again. "Alright, Dad. Thanks for the words. I'll take the Palisman with me."

The warden nodded, and promptly walked out of the room, allowing Skara to pack the Palisman, then look at herself in the mirror.

She was still wearing the Hexside uniform, and to be honest, a piece of her wanted to keep it, but just like the Palisman, it would only be a reminder of the Boiling Isles, with no good moment associated with it.

So, first things first, Skara removed her hairband, and let her hair loose...


"And that's what happened."

Eda and Lilith looked stunned at Luz, the former finishing slurping her drink before she spoke:

"Well, uh, damn kid... that's rough."

"Tell me about it," Luz sighed. "Now Amity's true form has been revealed, among other things, and Skara might be leaving the Boiling Isles if what I heard is correct."

Luz lowered her eyelids and faced the sisters. "What do I do?"

Eda turned to Lilith, who looked at her sister before she sighed and said:

"Well, if Skara hasn't left yet, perhaps you could try to apologize before she leaves?"

"But would she even accept it?" Luz rested her chin on her palm. "I can't imagine how angry she must be right now. If she finds out what I did-"

"Would it be better if she stayed in the dark, Luz?" Eda asked. "Listen, you either let her go without telling the truth, and let the guilt eat you alive, or you tell her truth, and risk getting chewed out for peace of mind."

"You still have time, kid," Lilith added. "Don't waste it like we did."

Hearing that, Luz took a deep breath, and asked:

"Eda, can I borrow Owlbert?"


With her backpack finished and now donning a red dress with black highlights, Skara left Warden Wrath's home and took a longing look at it. She said nothing during this time, for she wanted to keep her breath for when it was really needed.

So, with nothing left holding her back, Skara walked towards a giant X-shaped mark on the ground near the center of the Isles, looking oddly similar to a wound.

Skara took out her flute, and played a little song that caused the X-shaped wound to open, revealing the visceral entrance to the Boiling Underworld as Skara put the flute back on her pocket.

"Skara, wait!"

The flutist turned around, and flashed a little smile at the sight of a certain Human flying down to her on a Palisman-powered staff.

"Luz, hey..." she said with a tired smile. "You come here to wish me good luck?"

"Well, yeah, I mean no offense, but you're gonna need all the luck you can if you're really planning to go to the Boiling Underworld," Luz chuckled nervously. "Are... Are you really planning to go back there?"

Skara nodded. "I've already made up my mind, Luz. Nothing in this world is going to give me second thoughts."

"Well then, if that's what you plan to do... and this is the last time we meet... I just wanna say..." Luz lowered her head. "I'm sorry. It's all my fault."

Skara raised an eyebrow.

"I set things up so that you and Amity could bond, but everything went wrong! I shouldn't have used a stupid cartoon scheme to try and get you and Amity to bond. I should've just up and tried to setup something more usable, or at least, I should've put more thought on the scheme! Now, you're so badly injured, and everybody knows what Amity did, and you're leaving the Boiling Isles and-"

Skara grabbed Luz's shirt, pulled her towards her, and gave her a quick kiss on the lips.

Naturally, Luz was bright red when they separated. "What was that for?!"

"In the Boiling Underworld, the best way to tell someone to shut up is by kissing them in the middle of their speech," Skara put a hand on her hips and flashed a sneaky smile. "That, and I always wanted to kiss a human. So, now I got something to brag about once I'm at the Underworld."

"I..." Luz took a deep breath. "I see..."

"But also, I wanted you to stop beating yourself up," Skara lowered her eyelids. "Because yes, your scheme might've done more harm than good, but what I learned from it is something that, someday, I would've learned anyway, either by my hand or by someone else's. And if someone else taught it to me, I can assure you they wouldn't have had even a little bit of the good intentions you had."

Luz smiled slightly.

"And even if your scheme hadn't taught me anything, or someone else had given me the lesson, I still would've seen the true nature of this place. I still would've grown sick of it all. I still would've chosen to leave behind a place where I'm nothing but a punching bag. And I still would've chosen to go to the Boiling Underworld to get stronger."

Skara put a hand on Luz's shoulder, and flashed a smile.

"So don't beat yourself up for it, okay?"

Luz looked at Skara for a moment, then nodded with a bright, hopeful smile.

"Skara!"

This time, Amity was the one to show up, and unlike Luz, Skara made it very clear she didn't want to see the greenette.

"I should get going."

Luz got in Skara's way. "Please, Skara, just hear her out."

Skara rolled her eyes and groaned. But then she saw Luz clasp her hands and flash puppy dog eyes.

"Pwetty pwease? For me?"

Skara barely held back a chuckle, and nodded. "Fine, but it'll be on my terms."

Luz returned to normal. "Your terms?"

"You'll see."

Skara turned around, and gained a stern expression as Amity stopped and caught her breath.

"So... it's true..." the greenette sighed. "You're... leaving the Isles?"

"Yes," Skara bluntly answered. "I'm leaving the Boiling Isles." then she narrowed her eyes. "And before you ask, yes, you're one of the factors for my decision."

Amity winced. "Skara, I-"

"Amity, I'm gonna be as clear and concise as I probably can. And if that isn't enough to get through that thick skull of yours, then there's nothing I can do for you. Understood?"

Amity took a deep breath, mentally prepared herself, and nodded.

"Fine, listen... I'm tired, okay? Tired of living in a world that hates me. Tired of shouldering the blame for Boscha's mistakes. Tired of being an emotional punching and living stress reliever toy. And above all else, I'm sick and tired of trying to become your friend."

Skara looked elsewhere with regret. "I'll admit, I'm at fault here too. I've always been at fault, to an extent. I was too ignorant about what you wanted when we were younger. All I cared about was the fact I'd have the chance to make a new friend. That I might be able to have somebody other than Boscha by my side."

She lowered her head and clenched her fists. "And then the whole beating happened... and I wanted to give up on you. I really did. And, truth be told, I should've given up. I mean, you beat up Boscha with a chair, told her that things would be better if she had never been born, and then, when you got on your knees and begged for forgiveness to an Urodela like an utter idiot, she took the fall for you... and you didn't even have the decency to thank her when it was all said and done."

Amity lowered her eyelids and scratched the back of her head.

"I... didn't really know how to talk to Boscha back then. And even if I did, my parents wouldn't have allowed it. The Urodelas are one of the few people they're terrified of, so when they got to see Amirani's anger, they decided it was better I stayed as far away as possible."

"And when they learned Boscha was gonna go to Hexside?" Luz blurted. "What did they do when they heard that?"

Amity was quick to throw an offended look at her girlfriend. "Luz, we're in the middle of something important."

"Oh, right, sorry!" Luz blushed and smiled nervously. "The question escaped me!"

Skara turned to Luz and flashed a smile. "Just be patient, okay, Luz? You and Amity will have more than enough time to talk when I leave. Which I'll do soon..."

Then, she turned back to Amity. "Once I get one more thing off my chest."

"Let me guess," Amity frowned. "The fact you'll never forgive me?"

Skara took a deep breath, then pointed at her bandaged eye, causing the duo to flinch.

"Let me ask you something, Amity: who did this to me?"

"W-Well," Amity stammered. "I-"

"Not only that, but who refused to show sympathy when I got burned? Who tried to pin the blame on me for the Mandragora incident? Who gave me a half-backed apology, then demanded an explanation when I rejected it? Who sneered at me while we were heading to the Urodela's Mansion? Who insulted Boscha, the only friend I've ever had, just to see if Mattholomule, who was in a funk mind you, would react?"

"Hey, to be fair," Amity waved her hands. "In my experience, if you really love someone, you don't let somebody insult or demean them!"

"That doesn't change the fact you insulted her right to my face," Skara narrowed her eyes. "And you did all the other things I mentioned, Amity. Not Luz, nor Gus, nor Willow, nor anybody you want to bring up. You, and you alone, did them. You don't get to blame anybody but yourself."

Amity sighed and rubbed her forehead. "You must think I'm the worst..."

"Well... I don't know." Skara shrugged and folded her arms. "You've opened my eyes to a lot of things, Amity. How ignorant I was, how Boscha wasn't really a good friend, how I really should've picked who I trusted more carefully, how my neutrality did more harm than good... but above all else."

Skara lowered her head, taking a heavy breath before answering:

"I just... I can't stand being near you anymore. I can't."

And so, Skara turned around and walked towards the entrance, while Luz walked to Amity's side and provided comfort.

Inches before she entered, though, Skara called:

"One more thing, Amity."

The greenette flinched and fixed her posture.

"Don't even think this is the last time we meet. I'm gonna be gone for a while, yes, but I won't be gone forever."

Skara faced the duo.

"I will return. Remember that."

And so, Skara walked through the entrance, and with a snap of her fingers, the entrance closed soon after.

With the entrance to the Underworld closed, Amity and Luz walked to a nearby stump, and sat down, trying to process what had just happened.

"So... that just-"

"Yup," Luz nodded. "That just happened."

Amity took a deep breath and leaned back. "This day went from zero to a hundred so fa-"

Amity leaned a bit too back, and nearly fell before Luz caught her.

"Don't worry, I got you!"

Luz helped Amity get back on her feet, and the duo took a deep breath together. An awkward silence soon followed, one that Amity broke:

"I'm... sorry that you had to see me like that. Sorry about the fact I took the news... so badly."

"And I'm sorry for causing things to go so wrong between you two," Luz rubbed her forehead. "Willow and Gus told me time and time again that this could only go wrong, and yet I didn't listen to them."

"I wasn't of much help, to be honest," Amity scratched her chin. "Come to think of it, neither was Skara."

Luz chuckled. "We're all at fault here!"

The human laughed a bit more while Amity just giggled, with it taking no time for their smiles to falter.

"People now know about my Pseudo-Abomination form... and also that I'm kinda sorta the reason Boscha became such a bad person."

"Yeah, but to be fair, it was a very passionate fight," Luz shrugged and twiddled her fingers. "Words and truths just kinda... come out, during those moments."

"But this was possibly the worst moment for an outburst," Amity rubbed her forehead. "I didn't just reveal that I beat up Boscha, I also revealed my new form, and that I never even wanted to be friends with Skara and Boscha, all while beating up the former. After all that, is anybody gonna want anything to do with me anymore? What am I going to do?!"

Seeing her girlfriend in great distress, Luz grabbed her hand and held it tightly.

"You'll work on yourself."

Amity flinched and blushed. "Work on... myself?"

"Skara chose to go to the Boiling Underworld in order to try grow stronger. But she also did it to work on herself, so that when she returns, she's stronger not just in a physical, but a mental sense as well," Luz smiled brightly. "You could do the same."

"But how?" Amity frowned. "Are you suggesting I should go to the Boiling Underworld too?"

"Of course not! I'm quirky, not crazy!" Luz chuckled. "I'm just saying that, just like how Skara wants to work on her own issues, you should do the same for your own."

"My issues?" Amity tilted her head. "You mean like...?"

"Oh, you know, your pride, your anger issues, your tendency to blame the wrong, your tendency to throw blame around-"

"You could sugarcoat it a little, you know?"

"Amity, I'm your girlfriend. I'll love you warts and all. But nobody else will do it," Luz lowered her eyelids. "You either work on your issues and become a better witch, or you don't, and end up alone with nobody around you."

Amity flinched, Luz's words quickly striking a chord with her. She thought about it for a moment, then nodded with a little blush.

"I... think I can do that-"

"No, Amity, don't say "I think", say "I know!" Luz replied with a confident smile. "Repeat after me: I know I can do this!"

Amity shyly stammered. "I-I know I can do this."

"Louder! And with confidence!" Luz raised her hand. "I can do this!"

"I can do this!"

"One more time! I can do this!"

Luz and Amity stood up, and with their hands raised as high as they could, they shouted in unison:

"I can do this!"


Meanwhile, at the Heartyard Car, the Master of Masters inspected the crucified Passengers on the crosses, with him stopping at Boscha's cross.

"How interesting..."

The Master of Masters scratched his chin as he took a closer look at the crucified witch passenger...

And saw she was smiling.

Chapter Text

Blossoming Trail, which this story's taking footnotes of, posted an intermission chapter that was also a prelude to their Act 2. So naturally, I gotta follow in its footsteps.

Only instead focusing on the Boiling Isles, we'll focus on Hazel on the Infinity Train!

I can tell I'm gonna make a lot of friends with this chapter!

Anyway, there's not much else to say besides that, so let's get going!


There were many things that Hazel was questioning right now. Like, first of all, how did she even arrive at this place?

One second, she was running away, trying to find somebody who could help her in regards to Tuba.
It was difficult to explain what had happened to her, but the easiest way to do so was that she was there one minute, and in the very next, she wasn't.

But anyway, she ran, went through a door... and somehow landed herself in the middle of some strange room with a small, robotic ball watching several screens at once.

"Um," Hazel blurted. "Do you know where I am?"

The robot turned around, hopped off the board, and walked to Hazel, who took a step back with a confused expression.

"Why are your arms purple?"

Hazel looked at her purple arms, then folded them behind her back while asking yet again:

"Where am I?"

"You're in the Engine Room, and I'm One-One, the Conductor of this train," One-One answered. "You must've stumbled upon here by accident. That sometimes happens. Rarely, but it does."

"I... see?" Hazel began looking around. "Do you know where I can find help? I need help, Tuba's gone missing!"

One-One stared blankly at Hazel, prompting her to explain:

"We were walking together, just taking a nice stroll, but then a mean kid came outta nowhere and... T-Tuba got hurt, and the kid ran away, and I hugged her to try make her stay, but next thing I knew she was gone!"

"Hmm, intriguing." One-One jumped back to the control board. "Do you have any memory of this kid?"

"No," Hazel lowered her head. "I only heard his voice before Tuba shoved me."

"And where did this happen?"

"I don't know, I don't remember. I don't wanna remember," Hazel put her hands on her head. "If I remember, I'll just remember Tuba and then I'll be sad!"

One-One pushed a button, and a machine with a handprint appeared.

"Put your hand on the scanner. It should let us learn where was the last Car you traveled through, which should help us find out what happened."

Though hesitant at first, Hazel eventually placed her hand on the scanner, which scanned it for a second...

Before getting an "ERROR" message.

"Huh?"

"Interesting," One-One remarked. "It appears the Train can't identify you as a Passenger."

"But that's not possible! I'm a Passenger!" Hazel showed the number on her palm to One-One. "See?! I got a number and everything!"

"The Train doesn't seem to think so."

"Well maybe the Train is wrong! I'm trying again!"

Hazel had her hand scanned again, only to get the same "ERROR" message from before.

And again... and again...

"Come on, it's gotta work!"

"ERROR!", "ERROR!", "ERROR!", "ERROR!"

"Work, you piece of junk!"

Her anger getting the best of her, Hazel slammed her hand down the panel so hard, it shattered, electricity surging across the board as Hazel jumped back and squeaked.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to!"

"It's quite alright," One-One looked at the screen. "It appears to have worked, anyway."

Hazel turned to the screen, which now showed a picture of Hazel, alongside a peculiar statement...

"Subject 8-1-26-5-12?"

"Oh, so you're Subject 8-1-26-5-12?" One-One asked as Glad-One took control and turned back to Hazel. "I've been wondering when you were going to show up."

"What? No, I'm Hazel!" the girl turned back to the screen. "I don't know who this subject is!"

"That's you," One-One bluntly stated, reassuming control. "You're Subject 8-1-26-5-12."

"No, I'm not! I'm Hazel!"

One-One sighed and allowed Sad-One to take over. "Follow me."

The spherical robot hopped off the board and began walking to a room, with Hazel hesitantly following him behind.

It didn't take them long before they reached a deeper chamber within the Engine Room, where a broken tube laid in rest, connected to a wall.

"What... is this?" Hazel asked hesitantly.

"This is an object known as a tube. When Amelia took over, she tried to see if the Train would allow her to artificially create life," Sad-One explained before turning into Glad-One. "And you were the result! Congratulations!"

Hazel walked to the tube, and looked at the broken reflection.

"I... came from here?"

"In simpler terms, Amelia's your mother, and the tube's your father," Glad-One spoke. "Happy birthday, Subject 8-1-26-5-12!"

"Why do you keep calling me Subject 8-1-26-5-12!?" Hazel whined, facing the little robot. "My name's Hazel!"

"That's what I'm calling you," One-One answered as he pointed at the pod. "Translated from cypher, your designation forms the word H-A-Z-E-L."

Hazel took a closer look at the pod, and to her shock, right underneath the numbers were letters spelling our her name.

Hazel soon stood up, and backed away into a wall.

"W-Wait, that can't be me! This can't be my tube! I can't have a tube! I'm a Passenger!"

"Then why doesn't your number glow?" One-One asked innocently.

Hazel blinked. "Is it supposed to?"

"Yes, it is."

Hazel looked back at the number on her palm, then the pod, then the numbers with her name underneath, and she did this a few more times before ruffling her hair.

"No! No! Nonononono, that can't be me! I'm not a Denizen! I'm Hazel, I'm a Passenger!"

"On the contrary, you appear to be some odd bridge between both designations," One-One answered. "You're a Passenger, and yet you're not. And you're a Denizen, and yet you're not. You're both, yet neither. You're..."

"Hazel?"

"Something else."

Hazel lowered her head, but eventually raised it as she got an idea:

"Where's Amelia?"

One-One remained quiet.

"Mister One-One, I really need to talk to her: please, tell me where's Amelia!"

One-One took Hazel back to the Engine Room, and the little robot pushed a couple buttons before the screen changed: it now showed Amelia sitting in the middle of a ruined mall, guiding a bunch of kids as they cleaned and fixed the place.

"Is that Amelia?" Hazel leaned forward. "W-What's she doing?"

"She's making up for past mistakes," One-One answered. "It's a long story, but she chose to join a group known as the Apex to try fix their issues."

Hazel clenched her fists and lowered her head.

"So... she left me..."

One-One glanced between Hazel and the screen, glancing a few more times before he said:

"I apologize if this is upsetting, but I need you to understand: Amelia has important things to do, and many, many mistakes to fix."

Hazel raised her head. "Am I one of those mistakes?"

"That's a difficult question," One-One turned back to the screen. "Perhaps if we call Amelia-"

"Don't."

Hazel leaned back from the board and rubbed her forehead, trying to calm herself down while One-One spoke:

"I've learned that going to the Chrome Car can be quite therapeutic. Would you like to pay it a visit?"

Hazel opened her eyes, and took a deep breath.

"Yes, take me to the Chrome Car."

One-One hopped off and began leading the way, Hazel pausing for a moment to look at her purple hands before following.

Then, before she left the Engine Room, she turned back to the screen, just in time to see Amelia looking sternly at the kids, in a way that made it look like she was looking at Hazel.

Hazel returned the look before leaving.

Chapter Text

9 bookmarks and 30+ kudos! I think this story's starting to get some traction!

And now here we have the beginning of Act 2. Due to Boscha's... unique situation during this Act, she won't be quite as prominent as she was in Act 1.

Not that anybody's gonna complain about it. Not even me. XD

Now, I got something to confess, in that I think I might've done Skara dirty by not making her go to the Infinity Train. Mostly because I think there was a perfectly reasonable setup in canon:

Skara's 15th birthday party, which was alluded to in "Understanding Willow".

Picture this: Skara invites Boscha and Amity to her birthday, and the latter enlists Luz's help to try make the former look presentable and not half-baked when she shows up.

However, things go wrong: Luz and Boscha take way too long, and Skara's left feeling like Boscha stood her up, causing her to run away while Amity tries to comfort.

Cue the Train, and the story starting for real.

Her invitations were even made out of butterflies! The signs were so obvious, and yet I didn't notice!

But then again, Boscha just gave me more to work with, and if Skara had been made the main character, I'd have to come up with her personality.

Maybe if Skara had obtained the focus episode rather than Boscha, then the story would've been about her, but alas, she's gonna have to deal with what she got here.

Anyway, that's all I got on Skara. Anything else?

Okay, so, you might be wondering exactly what the Master of Masters is supposed to be. Is he a Passenger? A Denizen? Well, the truth is, he's the Master of Masters. Obviously XD

Now, onto the Heart System: the main purpose of this system is meant to help Static Passengers evolve into standard Passengers so they can complete their Train trip. Non-Static Passengers can be sent there too, but it's the same deal as with Static ones.

How many Denizens are created by a Static Passenger depends on how many issues they have, but there's always at least two: the Nobody, who represents the base person without the underlying issue, and the Heartless, who represents the issue that makes the passenger unable to change. Whether any more Denizens are created after that depends on how messed up the Passenger is.

For example, if Chloe was subjected to the Heart System, she'd only create the Nobody and the Heartless. But if Grace was subjected to it, she'd get a Nobody, a Heartless, and an embodiment of her greatest mistake, the Apex. At least, that's what I think.

Now, about Skara's decision last chapter before the intermission... yeah, it was a complete and utter blunder on her part, but I think it's mostly because she wasn't in the right state of mind at the time.

I mean, she got an icicle lodged through her eye, practically into her brain. If anything, it's a miracle she managed to recover as fast as she did, and without any brain damage to boot.

But indeed, she wasn't in the right mind when she made that decision. Once we cut to her again, I'm willing to bet she'll come to realize what a mistake she's made, and how she can't stay at the Underworld either.

Where she'd stay after this, I dunno, but she'll cross that bridge when she gets there.

For these first two chapters, we're gonna keep things a little lowkey and prepare everybody for the upcoming quest. Because things are gonna get intense, I assure you that. ;)

Oh, and one more thing: if you're a fan of Hazel, get ready to hate me. Because I believe I'm gonna do something nobody else has ever done. Something nobody probably ever thought of being possible.

You thought the intermission was hard to get through, wait until you see this. ;)

One last thing: Green_Phantom_Queen is working on a prequel to this story, centered on Chloe, titled "Melancholy Afterlife". Give it a look when you can, it's nowhere near as depressing as it sounds, trust me. XD

Now, let's get going, shall we?


The first thing Amity did once she woke up was look around her bedroom, through her drawers and the floor, only briefly pausing to look at her mirror.

She no longer used a glamour to hide her Pseudo-Abomination form, as Principal Bump told her parents about it, and by the time the school day was over, everybody had seen it. So, there was no point keeping it secret anymore.

Also, yes, her parents had some select words to tell her once the form was found out. Let's just leave it at that.

Eventually, she found what she was looking for under her bed: a small pink book with a "From: Luz, To: Amity" note sticking at the bottom. She took it out, put it on her desk, then began writing on it:

Dear diary.

It's been a full month since Skara decided to leave the Boiling Isles to go training at the Boiling Underworld, and over a month and a half since Boscha went missing. I wish I could say we've made some progress on figuring out where she went, but alas, nobody knows anything.

We haven't even heard from Boscha's parents, Prometheus and Amirani Urodela, ever since Skara went to the Underworld. Since they don't seem like the kind of person who'd just go silent like that. So, everybody's thinking that they're planning to do something big.

Either way, everybody's on edge.

As for me, I've been practicing my Pseudo-Abomination powers. Turns out, being a Pseudo-Abomination is quite neat if you got a predisposition to Abomination magic: not only do I have partially amorphous body parts like an actual Abomination, but I don't even have to say anything or draw a glyph; I just touch some Abomination matter, or even split some of it off my being, but I can just mentally order them what to do! It's awesome!

Not so awesome is the fact that I'm being taught by Lilith once again. Yes, the same one who once worked for Emperor Belos, and who cursed her sister to become an Owlbeast.

I still can't believe she did that, but regardless, I still have to train. And hopefully, I can later go with the Owl House crew to look for clues as to Boscha's whereabouts.

Not like I got anything else to do nowadays.

"Mittens! You're gonna be late for your training!"

"Got it, Emira! I'll be there in a minute!" Amity replied before hastily writing down:

Anyway, I gotta go. Time to put my skills to the test.


Once Amity got dressed up and grabbed her stuff, she immediately went to the Owl House, where the Owl House crew waited for her outside... alongside Lilith.

"Hey there, everybody."

"Amity!"

Luz ran up to Amity and pulled her into a hug, lifting her up while Amity looked around with a raised eyebrow.

"Psst, Amity," Luz whispered. "This is the part where you hug back."

"Oh, right, sorry," Amity immediately hugged back with a sheepish smile. "I'm still not used to this kind of affection."

"Eh, you'll get used to it," Eda said with a wave of her hand. "Lilith here didn't get used to it for a long while either-"

"And I never did!" Lilith growled. "I just gave up trying to convince you to stop!"

"It's the same thing."

"No it's not," Lilith faced Amity. "Now, Amity, we're a bit behind schedule, so let's get started with your training."

Luz put Amity down, and the greenette nodded before everybody went to the backyard. Eda, King, and Luz stood at the sidelines, while Lilith and Amity stood at the opposite lines of an arena.

"Go, Amity!" Luz called.

"Go, Lilith!" Eda added.

"Go, me!" King finished.

Amity clenched her fist and focused, her arm turning into a more liquid state before she swung it, unleashing a few puddles of Abomination goo on the ground before turning her arm back to normal.

Then, she closed her eyes and focused before opening them, revealing a golden glow as the goo morphed into a bunch of Abominations.

Lilith gripped her staff as Amity pointed at her, prompting the Abominations to run after her.

Lilith put her staff on the ground and swung it, drawing a line on it that began glowing as the Abominations got closer.

Amity squinted her eyes as they glowed once more, and the Abominations leapt over the line moments before it released a row of icicles forward.

The Abominations got ready to strike at Lilith...

"Okay, that's enough!"

Lilith put the staff down, and the Abominations were frozen in the air, surprising everybody.

"Wait, why are you putting the training on hold?!" Amity whined. "My Abominations leapt over the line perfectly!"

"Uh, Amity," Luz pointed at the Abominations. "You might want to take a closer look."

The greenette did, and to her shock, a couple of the Abominations had some of their feet either pierced or outright gone, with some of the foots pierced on the icicles.

Amity threw her head back and groaned in frustration.

"You're still too slow," Lilith stated as she undid the icicles. "Let's try this again-"

"Again?! We've been repeating the same stupid training exercise for over a week now!" Amity snapped. "When are we gonna do something else?!"

"Once you manage to control multiple Abominations at the same time," Lilith stated as the bubble went to Amity's side. "You're good enough with singular Abominations, so the next step is to try control multiple of them at the same time."

Amity groaned and rubbed her forehead before turning away from Lilith.

"I know it's frustrating, Amity, but that's just how training is," Lilith flashed a little smile. "Practice makes perfect: if we keep going long enough, you should get the hang of this eventually."

"Well maybe I'd get the hang of it faster if I had a better teacher!"

Lilith's smile instantly vanished. "What did you say?"

"Eh, don't mind her, Lilith," Eda said with a nervous smile. "Kids tend to say dumb things when they're stressed!"

"Yeah, I do it all the time!" Luz sheepishly added.

"No, she heard me, everybody heard me!" Amity snapped. "I'm saying the problem's that the better teacher's not available!"

Lilith took a deep breath. "Are you still hung up over the fact I made you cheat?"

"I'm still hung up over everything!" Amity responded sternly. "How you made me cheat, how you nearly killed us when we went for the Healing Hat, and especially how you cursed the Owl Lady, your own sister!"

"And what, exactly, does that have to do with your training?" Lilith asked with a raised eyebrow. "If you're trying to make an excuse for your relatively slow learning curve, you're not making a very compelling argument."

"I know, it's just... ugh!"

Amity stomped to one of the logs, and sat down, huffing as she folded her arms and tapped the ground with her foot.

Lilith took a deep breath, sheathed her staff, then sat next to Amity, who turned away from her.

"Listen, I know we haven't talked about... what happened, and if it's something you don't want to talk about, I understand-"

"No, Lilith, you don't understand!" Amity snapped, still refusing eye contact. "I always thought you were this cool and collected witch, one of the strongest there was and an idol to follow, and then I find out that not only are you willing to cheat, but you even cursed your own sister just to try get into the Emperor's Coven! Can you imagine the shock I had when I found that out!?"

"I saw your face when I said that," Lilith lowered her head. "That made it clearer than anything I could imagine."

"And then, as if that wasn't enough, shortly before that, Boscha goes missing and nobody knows where she went even a month after the fact!" Amity began shedding tears as she put a hand on her head. "And then I find out that Skara wanted to be friends with me, right after I shoved an icicle through her eye and yelled at her how I didn't want anything to do with her or Boscha and I haven't heard from her in a month and-"

Lilith promptly took out a napkin and wiped Amity's tears off with it, the greenette slowly calming down as Lilith flashed a reassuring expression.

"It's okay, Amity, just calm down a little. Crying about it isn't going to help anybody, you know?"

Amity sniffed and nodded.

"Listen, you made a mistake. But so did Boscha and Skara, didn't they? I mean, I didn't see what happened, but the Human-"

"Her name's Luz," Amity corrected.

"Yeah, her. She told me a simplified version of what happened. Anyway, didn't you say that Boscha gave you no reason to believe she was anything but a psychopath?"

"No...?"

"And did Skara give you any reason to believe she wanted to be your friend, and not that she wanted Boscha to beat you up?"

"If I had just bothered to look beyond the surface-"

"Did she, or did she not, Amity?"

"... No..."

"Then all three of you have some fault in the fallout. You might've beaten up Boscha, but she gave you no reason to believe she didn't deserve it. Skara wanted to become friends with you, but failed to properly commmunicate this to you. And of course, Boscha failed to notice the difference between the Isles and the Underworld and gave you the worst first impression ever."

"I wouldn't say it was the worst one ever," Amity rolled her eyes. "But... yeah, it was pretty bad."

"What I'm trying to say is, you shouldn't pin all the blame on yourself," Lilith ruffled Amity's hair. "It's neither healthy, nor fair. Understood?"

"... Yeah..." Amity sighed and smiled slightly. "Thanks... Lilith. Sorry for what I said earlier."

Lilith smiled. "Sorry for not only turning you into a cheater, but breaking your opinion on me."

Amity giggled, then stood up as soon as Lilith removed her hand from her hair.

"Well, we should keep training. I'll get the Abominations ready-"

"Actually, before we do that," Lilith stood up. "Would you like to try making your Abominations resemble you?"

Amity gasped with a little blush. "I can do that?!"

Lilith gestured Amity to try it, and the Blight quickly obliged. She threw a bit of Abomination goo on the ground, then began focusing while her eyes glowed.

Soon after, the goo began to morph into an ordinary Abomination, before pausing and then shrinking down to Amity's size. Then the being began to morph further, and before Amity knew it, she was seeing an Abomination clone of herself.

Amity gasped and put her hands on her cheeks while Lilith nodded with approval, the duo exchanging looks before Amity began training with the clone.

All while the Owl crew stood nearby.

"Another day saved by standing around and doing nothing!" King exclaimed.

Eda raised an eyebrow. "What?"

"Isn't it obvious?" King put his hands on his hips. "Those two managed to reconcile their differences because we stood here and did nothing!"

"Uh, yeah," Eda folded her arms and smirked. "Because we let them reconcile on their own."

"Are you understimating the power of doing nothing!?"

"Pretty sure I can't understimate what doesn't exist."

Luz could only chuckle as Eda and King began having an argument, while Amity and Lilith kept working on the Abomination clone.

She really wished they had more carefree days like these...


To say things had become awkward for Zenith Fantasy would be underselling it: not only did they nearly die in an exploding Car, but now they were aware that not only was Boscha not actually dead, but that her soul had been split off into four Denizen entities.

She was already scary when she was just one person; now they'd have to deal with multiple of her?! Not only that, but they'd have to work alongside a trio who not only saw them as just an extension of the Apex, but clearly hated them? And as if that wasn't enough...

"Why are we heading back to the Mall Car!?" Lindsay whined as she followed the group.

"We already discussed this, Lindsay," Simon stated. "We've been stalling long enough to confront our past."

"But the Apex dissolved long ago! Even if it remained, why would they go back to the Mall Car?!"

"One-One told us to go there, Lindsay," Grace remarked. "If he told us to pay it a visit, then there's gotta be a good reason for it."

Lindsay folded her arms. "And what if that reason is to get rid of us? After all, if most Passengers can't see us anything other than an extension of the Apex, who's to say the Conductor won't be the same?"

"Stop being such a buzzkill, Lindsay," Lucy requested with a weary tone. "We'll pay the Car a quick visit, see what's going on, and then we'll go back home. Just be a little patient, okay?"

"Am I the only one who has a bad feeling about this!?"

And then, without warning, the group entered a Car that took them directly to the Mall Car... and what they saw inside stunned them.

The Mall Car was no longer broken, disheveled, or even covered in graffiti. It was pristine, clean, and with some futuristic machinery around.

Also, it was practically bathing in the color White.

"You know what, Lindsay?" Alex said as he tightened his grip on the Shield. "I think I see what you mean. I'm having a bad feeling about this place, too."

"Wait, the place got cleaned up," Todd grimaced. "But did they get rid of everything?!"

Todd ran deeper into the Car, the rest of the children chasing after him as Simon and Grace looked at the renovated Mall Car.

"This place sure went through a renovation," Simon remarked as he scanned his surroundings. "But how long did it take to upgrade this place?"

"And more importantly," Grace frowned. "Who beat us to the punch?"

"NOOOOOOO!"

Simon and Grace hastily ran to the source of the scream... and raised an eyebrow when they saw Todd sulking on the floor next to an arcade machine.

"My high score is gone!" he cried while Lindsay patted his back. "My greatest achievement on the Infinity Train is gone forever!"

"What's going on here?" Grace asked.

"Somebody beat Todd's high score in Double Dragon," Lucy explained as the duo walked to the children. "But I can't think of anybody who could top it."

"Oh, that was your score?"

Zenith Fantasy turned around, and saw the familiar face of Amelia walking down the staircase, sporting a sheepish smile as she said:

"Sorry about that, kid: I felt so nostalgic when I saw the arcade machine, I just couldn't help myself. And next thing I knew, I got the high score! Crazy, right?"

Simon and Grace aimed their spears at Amelia, whose smile vanished instantly.

"The Usurper Conductor!" Simon narrowed his eyes. "What are you doing here?!"

"Doing the one thing you failed to do," Amelia narrowed her eyes. "Keeping these children safe."

Amelia turned around, and Zenith Fantasy saw a group of Apex children forming a line, each wearing identical grey suits similar to Amelia's, with one in particular catching Todd's attention:

"Hey, that girl in the middle, with the Blonde hair and dark skin: isn't that the same girl who paid a visit to the carnival?"

"And you're the guy who's game bullied me!" Hazel chirped, flashing a smile. "Like, what are the chances we'd meet again like this?!"

"One in a million, I bet," Todd chuckled. "Say, didn't you have a Denizen with you?"

"Tuba, unfortunately, passed away before I joined the Apex," Hazel pounded her chest. "So now I work with them to quarantine any Cars that could pose a threat to the Infinity Train! Or whose code is corrupt, whichever comes first."

"Thanks for the introduction, Hazel," Amelia told the girl before turning back to the group. "Now, what are you doing here? I hope you're not trying to claim the Apex back-"

"Nah, keep them if you want, they wouldn't want anything from us anyway," Simon sighed, waving his hand. "The truth is that One-One-" Simon smugly looked at Amelia. "You know, the real Conductor."

Amelia rolled her eyes.

"He told us to come here for... some reason."

"Maybe he wants you to join us," Hazel said, snapping her fingers as she got an idea. "With the powers you got from the Archfiends, we could get so much more work done! Especially since a certain someone with a name that starts and ends with "A" refuses to let us get Denizen powers!"

"But I'm totally okay with the idea!" a redheaded girl standing next to Hazel whined.

"No, not you Amanda," Hazel clarified. "I'm talking about Amelia."

The girl at Hazel's other side leaned forward and adjusted her glasses. "I'm also okay with the idea of Denizen powers."

"Not you! The other Amelia!"

"I'm sorry for not being okay with it," a girl with some hair over her eye and a doll whimpered. "I'm allergic to Denizens."

"Since when does the Apex have so many Amelias?" Simon asked Grace, who shrugged.

"I already told you, we're perfectly fine with the machinery I got you," Amelia, the woman, stated. "And besides, why would One-One want them to do that?"

"Cause he's One-One."

"Dang it, I can't argue with that."

"Why don't you let me talk to them?" Hazel clasped her hands. "I'm very persuasive, you know? If there's anybody who can get these meanies to work with us, it's me!"

"Meanies?" Alex asked.

"That's what everybody calls you now."

Grace and Simon weren't amused.

"I don't know, Hazel-"

Suddenly, Amelia's earpiece made a sound, and she heard something on it that caused her to sigh.

"Alright, I'll leave it up to you. But as soon as they go out of line, don't hesitate to call me, got it?"

Hazel flashed a sneaky look at Zenith Fantasy. "Understood."

The woman left, and Zenith Fantasy followed Hazel deeper into the Mall Car. Along the way, they passed a hall of mirrors, with something that quickly caught Grace's eye.

"Psst, Simon, did you notice?"

"What?"

"This Hazel girl doesn't have a reflection."

The man looked at the mirrors, and found that Grace was right: while everybody else had contorted reflections, Hazel's form didn't really reflect anything.

Seeing this, the leaders put their guard up as Hazel took them to a room, and closed the door, everybody sitting down as Hazel leaned against the wall and folded her arms.

"So... I heard your group got a new name, but I can't quite remember what it was," Hazel snapped her fingers a few times. "Was it something like... Apex Fantasy?"

"Zenith Fantasy, actually," Lucy answered with a proud smile.

"Really? That's a rather sweet name," Hazel nodded, then shook her head. "If only it wasn't being used by a bunch of worthless worms like you. All of you. Except Todd. He's cute."

The boy flinched and pointed at himself, prompting Hazel to wink at him and blow him a kiss. Todd promptly turned to the rest of the kids, Lucy and Alex shrugging with confusion while Lindsay looked utterly baffled.

Simon narrowed his eyes. "What do you want from us?"

Hazel's smile vanished.

"I want you to own up to your mistakes and help us fix the Train."

Hazel began pacing around the room, Grace and Simon keeping an eye on her as she spoke:

"Let's not lie to ourselves: nobody likes you. And rightfully so, I mean, you spent, what, several years killing Denizens as you saw fit? After doing that, of course nobody's going to want anything to do with you."

Then, Hazel faced the children four.

"And nobody's gonna cut any of you slack. Not the children who were "just following orders" like a bunch of dumb sheep, or the adults who "didn't know any better" about how the Train actually worked."

She turned back to Simon and Grace.

"It doesn't matter what you do. It doesn't matter what you say. It doesn't matter what you accomplish-nothing about you matters!"

Hazel leaned forward to the duo, sporting an expression of disgust.

"All that matters to the Train is what you did, and what you can do to make up for it."

Grace raised an eyebrow. "Which is?"

"Pretty simple, really," Hazel leaned back. "Join the Apex once again, this time as workers who'll spend the rest of your lives working to make amends regarding what you did."

"The rest of our lives?" Todd asked. "That's a little extreme, don't you think?"

"Oh, sorry, I didn't make myself clear enough," Hazel chuckle and faced the children. "I'm saying what Simon and Grace can do to fix their mistakes. What you have to do is much simpler."

"Oh great," Alex sighed in relief. "And that is?"

"Abandon them."

"What?!" the kids exclaimed in unison.

"These two are clearly bad influences! I bet your number grows bigger just by being near them!" Hazel stated. "If you don't want to stay on this Train for years, like these two, it's for the best that you leave them and find somebody else to guide you down the Train."

"But, wait," Lucy stood up. "You're practically telling us to leave Simon and Grace to become slaves to that old woman?!"

"Not slaves, indentured servants," Hazel flashed a smile. "Besides, even if they were slaves, they deserve it. You don't."

"We don't?" Lucy folded her arms. "Because I clearly remember you telling us about how we were all guilty for what we did as the Apex!"

Hazel lowered her eyelids. "I'm sorry, what was your name?"

"Lucy Noceda."

"Well, Lucy, I don't like your tone," Hazel narrowed her eyes. "I'm giving you the chance of a lifetime: an easy ticket to working on your problems and leaving this Train! And all you have to do is leave behind these overgrown parasites who've been doing nothing but keep you trapped here!"

Simon grabbed his spear, but before he could aim it, Grace stopped him, shaking her head as Lucy responded:

"And who says they're still the same they used to be?! Maybe they got better! Maybe they realized their mistake, and are trying to atone for it!"

"Yeah, I mean, would One-One trust them if they were still the same jerks they used to be?" Lindsay argued, Todd and Alex nodding in agreement.

Hazel scanned the children, looking particularly saddened at Todd, then narrowed her eyes and turned back to Grace and Simon, growling:

"You brainwashed them, didn't you?"

"How would we even do that?!" Simon asked out loud.

Hazel groaned and walked back to the entrance.

"Fine, if you won't join the Apex, and the kids won't leave you for whatever reason, then I guess negotiations are over. After all, on the Apex."

Hazel turned back to Zenith Fantasy. "You're either with us..."

Hazel raised her arm, and somehow coated it in metal.

"Or against us."

Zenith Fantasy quickly grabbed their weapons and aimed them at Hazel, who remained unfazed.

"Listen, we don't have to do this," Grace said, trying to stay calm. "We didn't come here for a fight! We don't need to throw fists at each other!"

Hazel snickered. "Who says I'm gonna hit you?"

Zenith Fantasy raised an eyebrow, but they quickly got their answer: Hazel threw a metal fist right at her face, using enough force to send her flying through the door.

Though initially stunned by what just happened, Zenith Fantasy quickly began to run away as Hazel began crying and ran off, yelling:

"Help! The Apex splinter group's trying to kill me!"

"Great, just what we needed!" Simon growled.

"Can't we try to talk our way out of this?!" Lucy asked fearfully. "I don't know, try to tell them what happened?!"

"It's her word against ours, and I don't think most of the Apex's gonna listen to us anyway!" Grace answered. "We should go back to the Cat's Car for now and figure out what to do from there!"

And as the alarms blared, Zenith Fantasy ran out the Car, just in time for Amelia to meet Hazel.

"I got the message! What happened?!"

"It was horrible, Amelia!" Hazel cried as she shed tears. "As soon as we were alone, they began insulting me and saying how this isn't what the Apex was all about! Then I think I said something that angered them, because one of them punched me and said they were gonna kill me!"

"My word!" Amelia frowned. "Who did that?"

"I think it was Blonde man, but I don't know," Hazel sniffed and wiped off her tears. "I ran away as soon as I could, and so did they!"

Hearing that, Amelia narrowed her eyes and stood up.

"Well, they can't run forever! Apex! Scan the area! Search for any potential hints as to where they could've gone! We can't let this Zenith Fantasy keep acting like the Apex used to!"

"Yes, ma'am!"

Amelia looked a little surprised at the statement, but she quickly shook it off and grabbed Hazel's hand.

"Come on, Hazel, let's go to the infirmary."

"Okay..."

The duo promptly walked together, Hazel keeping her head low while smirking...


Chloe suddenly snapped awake, sweating heavily as she swung her donut holer in the air, only stopping after a few seconds had passed.

She then looked around to find herself in a room that looked straight out of the 80s, with Lexi and Atticus sleeping above and near her, respectively.

"Aw, thank goodness, it was just a nightmare!" she remarked, her companions waking up shortly after. "I had this horrible nightmare where not only were the Apex the good guys, but we were left with no choice but to work with them to stop a psychopath from destroying the Train! Ah well, time to go back to dreaming about my perfect date with Specter!"

"That wasn't a dream."

Chloe flinched and turned around, finding Peacock standing by the doorway... and smoking a cigarette.

"And now's not the time to sleep, kid. Get up and come to the kitchen, we got a long day ahead of us."

"You're not that much older than me, you know?" Chloe yawned. "What time is it anyway?"

"It's "wake up"-o clock, now get up already."

And with that, Chloe, alongside Atticus and Lexi, quickly got clean and dressed before they went to the kitchen, where Peacock was already eating her pancakes.

The trio promptly sat down and began digging in, with their moans of delight proving what they thought of the food.

"These pancakes taste amazing!" Lexi remarked. "What did you put on them?"

"The usual: sugar, flour, hopes and dreams of Denizens, and so on."

"Wait, what did you say?"

"Well, they're pretty good!" Atticus said while taking a bite out of the pancake. "I dare even say I'd love to sell them in Corginia!"

Peacock chuckled. "None of your people have hands, how would they eat them?"

"With our mouths, of course!"

"Peacock, if you don't mind me asking," Chloe interjected. "You come from a world where a demonic thing exists called... the Skull Heart, right?"

"Yeah, I do," Peacock raised an eyebrow. "Why do you ask?"

Hearing a positive answer, Chloe clasped her hands and smiled, chirping:

"Could you tell me more about it, please?!"

Chapter Text

This is the last time I updated twice in a week, I promise XD

So, yeah, apparently some people saw the "Hazel joins the Apex" twist coming. Which... well, I mean, I expected a little bit more vitriol with the twist, since Hazel is such an universally beloved character and everything. So, having her join the Apex, when that was basically the reason her innocence was lost, just sounded like a prick move to me.

But apparently not. Oh well, I'm sure her personality will make up for it XD.

Anyway, onto other things: yes, Luz gifted Amity the diary after the end of Act 1. She figured it was for the best to give her something to keep her occupied and to write down her thoughts.

Also, it could be considered a nifty date gift, if only because there really hasn't been that much lovey dovey stuff between the two.

However, I'm pretty sure you can see why at this point: there are just way too many damn things circling in Amity's head to go on dates with Luz. I like to think they probably tried to go on a date or so, but it was even more awkward than usual.

And on Zenith Fantasy... yeah, they're pretty much alone at this point: I mean not only do people see them with distrust because of their past as members of the Apex, but thanks to Hazel's machinations, the Revamped Apex are going to hunt them down. But hey, look at the bright side: at least they still got The Cat by their side!

... Hey, it's something, at least.

As for the other Boiling Isles residents, let's just say the Urodelas have something big planned. Something big and terrible, befitting the Underworld.

You'll find out what it is soon enough. And so's Skara.

Finally, the Red Lotus Trio. Honestly, I don't know how much I can actually tell you without it being spoilers, or taking Green_Phantom_Queen's attention away from the story proper. But don't forget the Skullheart bit from before: that's definitely gonna come into play later.

Finally, this is something I think it's worth bringing up: back in Act 1, the number of Denizens was disproportionately larger than the Passengers, a fact I only discovered by the time of the Act 1 two-part finale. So, I'm gonna try to add more characters who are actually Passengers to even the numbers. I'm probably gonna fail, but it's better to try and fail than never try at all.

And so, I got nothing else to say. So let's go!


The very next day, with still no news regarding the situation with Boscha, Zenith Fantasy decided to go to a Cantina Car and grab something to eat.

But first, they had to take a number.

"Ugh, I hate this cliche!" Alex whined as Lucy went to get the number. "Just watch, we're gonna get a super massive number that'll leave us waiting forever!"

"We're not in a cartoon, Alex," Simon pointed out.

"We're inside an infinite, interdimensional Train filled with artificial creatures who'll help us deal with our issues. We might as well be in a cartoon!"

"Oh hey, look! We're the very next number!" Lucy chirped before showing the number to the group. "What do we get?"

"Just ask for a lunch set for six people," Grace answered with a shrug. "Unless somebody wants something specific?"

"This is a cantina," Todd said. "I don't think they sell anything other than sandwiches and drinks."

"Sounds good to me!" Lucy said as she walked to the counter. "Six sandwiches and drinks comin' up-"

But as soon as she reached the counter, the cashier girl turned around and snapped:

"Lucy Noceda!"

"Gasp! Louise Lastname?!" Lucy pointed at the counter girl. "What are you doing here!?"

"First of all, I'm working, something that a bunch of good-for-nothing scoundrels like you and the Apex you split off from would never know about. Second of all, it's quite laughable that you ask me what I'm doing here, when you have no right being in a decent establishment like this, you mass murdering cretin!" Louise narrowed her eyes. "And third of all, it's not Louise Lastname! It's Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière!"

"Did your name get longer?" Lucy asked while tilting her head.

"Who cares how long my name is!" Louise folded her arms. "What do you have to say for yourself!?"

Lucy handed her ticket. "Six sandwiches and drinks, please."

Louise grabbed the paper and got to work while Lucy walked back to the table with the rest of Zenith Fantasy.

"Okay, so, we should talk while our order's being made!" Lucy chirped. "What should we discuss?"

Grace eyed Simon, who nodded, and she promptly asked:

"Why... did you decide to stay?"

The kids faced Grace, who continued:

"You saw how The Mall Car was fixed up, and you saw how the kids under that woman's care had actual uniforms, they were clean, they were safe, they looked better than the Apex ever did... so, why would you willingly come with us, even though the Apex is better under that woman's rule?"

"Because we're not part of the Apex anymore," Lucy answered without hesitation. "We're Zenith Fantasy now, remember?"

"No, I mean, we can't give you the same luxuries that she can: we're stuck living with The Cat until new notice-"

"And even that can be taken away from us as soon as that old hag finds any reason to quarantine her Car," Simon growled. "So it's safe to say that even we can't depend on Samantha for this one."

"Yeah, that too," Grace scratched her cheek. "And also, that woman knows how to the Train works! She could help you get your numbers down so you could go back to your homes-"

"You really think that's what she'd do?" Lindsay asked with a skeptical eyebrow. "Because I'm sorry, but did you see the Apex's faces when we met them? They were bored, maybe even scared! In fact, they were even wearing gloves to hide their numbers! Doesn't that seem a little suspicious to you?"

"I mean, they were working with machinery, so gloves are kind of a necessity-"

"And you're also ignoring the elephant in the room that's the Hazel girl!" Alex added. "I mean, even if we were okay with going back to the Apex, I don't think we would've done it if she was still around."

"I don't know," Grace shrugged. "She seemed rather rough around the edges, sure, but-"

"Rough around the edges"? She insulted us, called you parasites, then punched herself in the face and blamed us for it!" Lindsay recapped. "That's not being rough around the edges! That's being an outright jerk!"

"Here's your order."

Louise appeared and put a tray with food on the table, getting ready to leave before she noticed Simon.

"My, oh my, who do we have here?" Louise leaned closer to Simon. "How did a good looking guy like you end up hanging around scum like the Apex?"

Simon's answer was blunt: "I'm an adult."

"And I'm totally okay with that," Louise replied with a wink.

Grace quickly took out her spear and aimed it at Louise, hissing:

"He's taken."

"That's fine by me!" Louise lowered her eyelids and smirked. "I can always be his second option whenever he gets bored of you."

Simon was next to grab and aim his spear at the pinkette.

"Leave. Now."

"You guys are no fun!" Louise huffed before storming back to the counter.

With that done, Grace and Simon lowered their spears... just in time to see the kids looking at them: the boys with raised eyebrows, the girls with cocky smiles.

"He's taken, huh?" Lindsay laughed.

"I-It was the first thing that came to mind!" Grace argued, blushing brightly. "Don't read too much into it!"

"And don't change the subject!" Simon growled. "Look, I hate to say it, but that old crone can help you better than we can!"

"Oh really now?" Lindsay raised an eyebrow. "You really think she can help us in a better way than you?"

"Yes!"

"How?"

Simon opened his mouth, but just as quickly closed it.

"Simon, did you forget how we first met?" Lindsay took a bite out of her sandwich and swallowed. "I was this close to becoming a Dragon's breakfast before you came and rescued me!"

"I still think that was one of the weirdest days I've ever had."

"Yeah, and what about when I first arrived on the Train, on a pond I didn't know only reached my waist?" Alex pointed out. "Wasn't Grace the one who came to me and helped me calm down?"

Grace blushed and looked elsewhere. "I was just passing by!"

"And when those living arcade machines tried to kill me for breaking their high scores, who came to my rescue?" Todd added. "'Cause I remember Simon did it."

"No, Grace did it," Simon clarified. "All I did was pull her back with my grappling hook when she grabbed you."

"And need I remind everybody of the Moby Dick incident?" Lucy asked. "I got a song ready and everything-"

"No, please don't," Simon groaned. "We get what you're trying to say."

"You've been jerks, that much is clear, but you helped us in the end," Lucy added, before looking elsewhere. "Besides, you're not the only ones who've lied to us. But you're definitely the ones who've helped us the most, so, we can appreciate that!"

The adults looked at the children, who flashed reassuring smiles, which they returned... just in time for their earpieces to ring.

"One-One, is that you?" Grace asked as she touched her earpiece.

"Yes, it is I. While there's still no news regarding Boscha's Denizens, I believe I've found a Car that'll give you some time to relax. And maybe, lower your numbers too."

Simon and Grace exchanged looks, and the man promptly asked:

"And what Car would that be?"


This was the most awkward thing Amity had ever done. One minute, she was talking with Willow and Luz, trying to think of something she could do to try work on herself.

The next, she was sitting next to Gus, right after Luz and Willow told her to try bond with him to complete the group.

"So, uh," Amity scratched her head. "I heard you skipped a couple grades to get here?"

"Yeah, I did, and I don't regret it," Gus stated with a smile. "And I've heard you have siblings in the Illusion track too?"

"Yeah, but, they're not really what I'd call... role models," Amity frowned. "You haven't met them, have you?"

"Depends," Gus scratched his chin. "Do they have dark green hair and golden eyes, like you?"

"Oh my word!" Amity covered her face and lowered it. "You've met them!"

Realizing he might've said something wrong, Gus quickly added:

"Say, would you be interested in joining the Human Appreciation Society?"

Amity uncovered her face and raised an eyebrow. "I thought you were kicked out of there?"

"I was, but once Mattholomule realized people liked me more than him, he asked me to become president again," Gus shrugged. "We've been doing pretty well since then. Outside of that incident earlier."

"Yeah," Amity scratched her cheek. "I think I know what you mean..."

"So, would you like to join?"

Amity twiddled her fingers. "I mean, I don't wanna give Luz the wrong idea."

Gus raised an eyebrow. "About what?"

Amity began to sweat bullets, realizing she was very close to going into topics Gus was a little too young to know about.

"Oh hey, I see Mattholomule!" Gus chirped. "I'll ask him if we have any spots available!"

"Right! Sounds good!" Amity perked up, especially upon seeing Viney and Eileen somewhere nearby. "Meanwhile, I'm gonna go check up on Viney and Eileen over there."

"Got it!"

The duo exchanged thumbs up, and promptly separated, Amity wiping the sweat off her forehead as she walked.

"Hey, Viney!"

The duo turned around, and waved hello at the Pseudo-Abomination.

"So, Eileen and you, huh?" Amity shrugged and pocketed her hands. "Never thought I'd see you guys together."

"Yeah, well, Eileen came to me first," Viney looked at the cyclops. "Apparently, she explained what happened to Puddles to the Potions teacher, and they allowed her to make a second potion for me to use after the half-griffin fiasco was dealt with."

Eileen flashed a thumbs up, which Amity and Viney returned.

"So, is Puddles alright now?"

"Yup! They've got marks where there used to be wounds, but besides that, they're fine!" Viney chirped. "Anyway, how are you doing?"

"Oh, I'm fine," Amity rolled her eyes and waved her hand. "You know, besides the fact that people still fear me because they just can't forget when I shoved an icicle through Skara's eye."

Eileen took a couple steps back, until she hit the lockers.

"Sorry, Eileen, I didn't mean to scare you like that," Amity sighed and turned to Viney. "I wish I had your ability for hopeful monologues like the one you did when Skara was a hybrid."

"Truth be told, when I said all those things, I was more desperate than anything else," Viney sighed, scratching the back of her head. "I mean, not to brag, but I know what it takes to anger and calm down a Griffin: giving them positive reinforcement always works, while pelting them with rocks will get them furious."

"I think being pelted with rocks would anger anybody," Amity snickered, Eileen nodding in agreement.

"And besides, let's be honest: a scared Griffin's a threat. But an angry Griffin's a death sentence. Especially if it's a hybrid," Viney sighed. "The Owl Lady coming to the rescue was a miracle, I tell you."

"A miracle, indeed. Anyway, Gus should be back from talking with Mattholomule now, so I should go see him."

Eileen flinched and walked to Amity's side, turning her around while pointing with a worried look.

Turns out she was pointing at Gus, who looked rather nervous as Cat talked to him.

Amity narrowed her eyes, and Eileen put a hand on her shoulder, still looking worried.

"Don't worry, Eileen, I'm not gonna hurt her," Amity replied. "I just want to ask her something."

And with that, Amity stomped towards the duo, their conversation becoming audible soon after:

"Letting the Abominable Blight join the Human Appreciation Society is the worst thing you could do! I mean, you already saw how brutal she can be! Who's to say she's not trying to join to society to find another victim?!"

"Because she looks more like she wants to hurt you right now?"

"Hello, Cat."

The bespectacled student whined like a cat and hissed while making clawing motions, all while Amity looked disinterested.

"I think Mattholomule's calling for me," Gus said while backing away. "I'll leave you two to sort this out yourself."

And with that, Gus bolted away.

"Curse you, Gus!"

"So," Amity folded her arms. "Looking for a new kid to bully, now that Skara's no longer around?"

Cat adjusted her glasses and took a deep breath.

"Why do you care?" Cat turned around and raised an eyebrow. "I thought you hated her guts, I mean, isn't that why you shoved an icicle through her eye?"

Amity narrowed her eyes. "Cat, I'm not in the mood to deal with your nonsense, so I'm going to ask this just once: why did you bully Skara?"

"Tsh, really? Amity, everybody bullied Skara; that's what she had coming for associating with a psycho like Boscha!" Cat put her hands on her hips. "Why would my reasons to bully her matter?"

"Because you and Amelia were part of the posse alongside Skara and Boscha," Amity leaned forward. "So I find it hard to believe you wouldn't have an ulterior motive for bullying her. So, what is it?"

Cat flinched, and sweated bullets as she tried to avoid eye contact with Amity, a task made vastly harder by the daggers she threw at her.

Until eventually, she stated:

"I... I hated the fact that she was a much better Healing magic user than I'll ever get to be! There, are you happy!?"

"No, I'm confused," Amity tilted her head. "I mean, I know Skara wanted to join the Healing track, but when has she ever used Healing magic?"

Cat took a deep breath. "Gather your friends and tell them to come to the Healing track classroom after school. It's about time you learned something... interesting, about Skara."

And with that, the bell rang, just in time for Cat to walk away, leaving Amity to ponder what awaited them at the Healing track classroom...


"Nico Nico Ni-ice evening, Infininet!"

Those were the words that served as a prelude to the Spelling Bee Car to light up, an invisible audience cheering as some of the participants waved, while others tried to avoid being seen.

"I'm everyone's favorite Idol, Nico Yazawa!" the judge of the Spelling Bee Car, a teenage girl with black twintails and a "64" number on her palm, chirped as she spoke to a microphone. "Acting as the judge of today's edition of the Spelling Bee Car! And we got quite the odd participants today!"

"I feel so stupid sitting on this chair again," Simon whined. "Of all the Cars One-One could take us, why did it have to be the Spelling Bee Car?!"

"You're gonna do fine, Simon," Grace said while patting Simon's back. "And who knows, maybe One-One will finish scanning for Boscha's Denizens before your turn arrives."

"Now that's what I call wishful thinking!"

The duo turned around and saw the Red Lotus Trio sitting on the other set of chairs next to them, with the peculiar addition of Louise.

"Okay, I can understand why the Red Lotus Trio would be here," Lucy stared at Louise. "But what's she doing here?!"

"Isn't it obvious, Lucy? I told you we'd face off again, and even if it's rather underwhelming compared to what I had in mind, I'm more than willing to give this spelling bee thing a shot," Louise smirked. "Especially if I have the legendary Red Lotus Trio giving me support."

"She called us legendary!" Chloe whispered to Atticus and Lexi, who nodded and flashed a thumbs up as she squeed.

"Anyhow, you're going down, Apex!"

"Zenith Fantasy!"

"Hey, the only one who gets to decide who goes down is me!" Nico snapped, getting everyone's attention. "Anyway, the rules are simple: I'll give you a word, and you must spell out the word in its individual letters. For example: Cake. C-A-K-E. Cake. Got it?"

The groups nodded.

"Okay, now, before you spell out the word, you may either ask for an example of the word being used in a sentence, or the definition of the word. The latter's preferred in case there are similar-sounding words, like duck."

Zenith Fantasy ducked down, while the Red Lotus Trio began looking for ducks, leaving Louise to raise a confused eyebrow.

"Exactly my point. Anyway, if everybody's got it, let's begin with... you!"

Nico pointed at Chloe, who squeed and hopped to the podium, sporting a wide smile as Nico gave her the word:

"Your word is Vermillion. Would you like to hear it in a sentence?"

"Nah, I got this!" Chloe proudly answered. "Vermillion! V-E-R-M-I-L-I-O-N! Vermillion!"

"That is... incorrect."

Chloe's jaw dropped, Team Red Lotus gasping while Zenith Fantasy looked in disbelief, Lindsay bursting out laughing soon after.

"What?!" Chloe snapped defensively. "Why are you laughing?!"

Louise rolled her eyes. "There are two "L" in Vermillion, genius."

"Since when?!"

"Since always!" Simon and Grace exclaimed, the former holding back a chuckle.

Chloe shot a glare at the duo. "I'd like a second opinion."

"Since always!" Everybody else exclaimed.

Chloe pouted and stomped to the audience seats, folding her arms as the spelling bee continued.

"Okay, after that epic failure, let's try someone who actually knows how to spell," Nico hummed, then pointed at Todd. "How about you?"

The boy pointed at himself, and Nico nodded. He promptly walked to the podium, and Nico smiled.

"Well, this is interesting."

Todd tilted his head. "Why?"

"Well, this word was also asked to a previous Passenger just now," Nico scratched her chin. "I believe her name was... Hazel Hughes!"

Grace turned to Simon. "Hazel... Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"Yes, but I'm also hoping it's not true," Simon folded his arms. "If this Hazel is the same one we just met, and she really is connected to the Usurper Conductor in that way, then our chances of clearing our names just got a whole lot slimmer-"

"That's correct!"

Simon and Grace returned to reality as Todd walked back to the group, high fiving them while Louise's turn came next.

"Your word is Void. Would you like to hear it in a sentence?"

"Of course," Louise looked mockingly at Chloe. "I'm not like some other people who rush headfirst into things."

Chloe growled while pouting.

"Alright, here's the sentence," Nico raised an eyebrow. "Your true talent in magic lays on Void magic, and nothing else."

"Huh, what an oddly specific sentence, especially given that I come from a magical world," Louise hummed... then waved her hand haughtily. "Eh, it's probably nothing."

"Are you serious?" Atticus asked in disbelief.

"Void! V-O-I-D! Void!"

"That's correct."

Louise bowed down twice before sitting back on her seat, Atticus and Lexi shifting slightly away from her as Simon's earpiece rang.

"Hello?"

"Simon, this is One-One."

"One-One?!"

Simon stood up and smiled, getting everyone's attention before their earpieces activated as well.

"I want to inform you that the Boscha-made Denizens have been identified and analyzed. Please come to the Engine Room in order to learn more about them-"

"Alright!"

"After you're done with the Spelling Bee Car."

"Dang it!"


Back at Hexside, Cat guided the group of Amity, Luz, Willow, and Gus into the Healing track classroom, which looked like a mix between a normal classroom, and the infirmary.

"As you probably can guess, the Healing track is one of the toughest tracks to study at Hexside: after all, you're dealing with the ability to either save a life, or take it," Cat explained as everybody looked around. "Because it's so difficult, only particularly talented or knowledgeable witches regarding healing magic get to join the track."

"Tell me about it," Luz said while checking the teacher's desk. "There was this one time when we were taught how to dissect a frog creature, and not only was MY creature pregnant, but I accidentally hit one of the babies-"

"Yes, I remember that class quite vividly," Cat glared at Luz. "And I'd rather not be reminded of it, thank you very much."

Luz flashed a nervous smile and kept scanning the environment, at least until Cat walked to a cabinet and unlocked it, revealing a collection of vials inside, each filled with blood.

"You're lucky that it was my turn to keep an eye on the blood vials," Cat rolled her eyes. "If somebody like Bo was given the duty, we'd never get anywhere."

Cat grabbed a vial, designated as "Skara's blood", and showed it to the group.

"This vial contains some blood taken from Skara during Injection Day."

"Injection Day?" Luz repeated. "What's that?"

"It's a day where the students of Hexside take blood samples," Gus explained. "This is done to see if the student's feeling well, but also to see if they've been messing around or have been corrupted by magic."

Luz gulped. "Corrupted?"

Amity rubbed her arm. "Yeah, not all magic can be wielded without suffering side effects-"

"Can we leave the magic lesson for later?" Cat growled. "My parents hate it when I arrive home late, so I need to tell you about the blood right here, right now!"

Amity sighed. "Fine."

"Good, so, where was I? Oh right: Witch blood has some peculiar properties, chief among them being that if the magic user is more connected to one type of magic, the blood will have side effects related to it. For example, the blood of someone with a connection to Plant magic can grow plants on fertile soil. And if the blood is connected to someone strong in Healing magic, it can be used to heal injuries, though usually it can't help with broken limbs or the dead."

Cat walked to a box, grabbed something from within, and dropped it on the desk.

"This is Lazarus, the class pet. His species has a short lifespan, but they normally revive," Cat glared at Luz. "As long as they die of natural causes."

"I already told you I didn't mean to give them a heart attack!" Luz snapped defensively. "I mean, come on, how was I supposed to know that rubbing his belly could stop his heart?!"

Cat shook her head, then opened the vial.

"Watch, and learn."

Cat poured some of the blood down on the miniature corpse, and at first, nothing happened.

But a few seconds later, the body regained color, and jumped back up, sprouting wings before flying back to their house.

Willow took off her glasses, cleaned them, then put them back on.

"Yup, with small creatures, this blood can heal grave injuries, and even bring them back to life," Cat stated as she closed the vial. "As for witches, it can help broken limbs regenerate damage, and any dismembered limbs can be reattached, provided enough blood is used."

"This is the most intriguing, yet disturbing thing I've ever seen," Luz remarked. "But are you sure this is the same Skara we're talking about?"

"There's only one Skara in the entire school, Human," Cat answered, Amity muttering "Luz" in correction as Cat adjusted her glasses and added. "Sure, there are a couple of students with similar names, but Skara isn't one of them."

"And besides, that's not what matters," Amity stated. "What matters is that the actual reason you chose to bully Skara was because of something petty-"

"Something petty!?" Cat yelled. "I worked so hard to try pass the entrance exam for the Healing track, and then this b-"

Amity narrowed her eyes, prompting Cat to pause and resume:

"This wrench pops out of nowhere and blows all my hard work off the water with a stupid little song!" Cat stomped the ground and folded her arms. "If she hadn't been placed on the Bard track, I'm sure I would've been kicked out right then and there!"

Luz and Amity exchanged looks, and they instantly knew they had gotten everything they wanted from Cat. And so, they left Cat to put everything back in order, all while wondering what to do next.


At the Engine Room, both One-One and the Master of Masters looked at the screens as the former prepared his explanation, just in time for the Red Lotus Trio and Zenith Fantasy to arrive.

"One-One, we got your message!" Lexi exclaimed, shoving Simon and Grace to the side. "You got the info on the Boscha-made Denizens?!"

"Boschazens," the Master of Masters clarified. "We've agreed that it's easier and less of a mouthful to say. So, please refer to them as that from now on."

"And besides, while I have gathered the info, I can't tell you anything yet," One-One replied. "There's still one more pair we need to wait for-"

"We're here."

Everybody turned around, and saw Phos and Chris enter the Engine Room, the former smiling upon seeing Simon and Zenith Fantasy.

"The crystal ball and Gem Null, huh?" Lindsay shrugged. "Well, I guess they're Boscha's partners, after all."

"Hooray! Everybody's here!" Glad-One chirped before Sad-One took over. "Let's get into the nitty gritty."

The Master of Masters pressed a button, and Boscha's info appeared on the screen.

"For starters, this is the basic info of Boscha, as recapped by the Train-"

"Age: Teenager?! You mean she's older than me?!" Chloe exclaimed in disbelief. "But she's barely half my size!"

"And yet she's twice as mature," Phos quipped, high-fiving Simon afterwards.

"Anyhow, the reason I show you this is to look at the number: 16,670. This number will be split into depending on how many Denizens were made. In this case, Boscha's soul was split into four Denizens, so the number each got is this."

The screen changed to show a glowing "4167.5" on it.

"That's still pretty dang big," Chris remarked. "It'll take forever to get those numbers down to zero."

"You don't have to get them down to zero," the Master of Masters stated. "You just need to help get the Denizens to calm down, and also break away of the toxic mentality that plagued Boscha."

Simon raised his head. "The Apex mentality..."

The Master of Masters nodded.

"After scanning the Train for so long, we've finally managed to find the Denizens that Boscha's soul has been split into."

The Master of Masters pushed a button, and an image of a two-eyed Boscha wearing a black cloak similar to his appeared. Notably, she had an "X" where her third eye would otherwise be.

"This is Boscha's Nobody. You'll need to keep her safe until Boscha's soul can be reconstructed."

Atticus frowned. "That's gonna be so much easier said than done."

Another button was pressed, and this one showed a smaller Boscha, wearing a yellow dress.

"This is a Denizen based on Boscha's childhood. We call her, the Innocence. You must prevent her from growing to believe the entire world hates her, for that's what lead to Boscha developing her Apex mentality."

Chloe winced. "She was hated by everyone, too?"

Rather than answer the question, the Master of Masters showed the next Denizen: instead of the previous two Boscha lookalikes, this one resembled a giant lion made of darkness, with three, glowing Golden eyes.

"This is Boscha's Heartless, Lionheart. It is the embodiment of Boscha's idea that she has to be the top predator, lest she be killed or seen as worthless, and thus not worthy of living. You must teach them that the world isn't that cruel, that it's not a dog-eat-dog world where there's a constant struggle to stay alive. Fail to do that, and she might remain Static even if the other Boschazens are dealt with. And finally..."

With another push of a button, the final Denizen was shown, this one resembling a cloaked Boscha with glowing red eyes.

"This is the True Apex, an embodiment of Boscha's inner belief that she's the one on top. That she must be the one on top. And that she's above all things: responsibility, karma, pain, suffering, all those things."

"I don't like where this is going," Phos gulped. "So, what do we have to do with this... Boschazen?"

"You must kill her."

Everybody stood stunned. "What?!"

"This Denizen embodies the most toxic of Boscha's qualities. Keeping her alive in any way, shape, or form will cause Boscha to remain Static." the Master of Masters lowered his head. "Even if the Nobody is kept alive, even if the Innocence is kept optimistic, and even if Lionheart is taught the world isn't cruel, if the True Apex remains, nothing will change."

"Okay, but, you're not just gonna throw us at them like we are right now, are you?" Chloe shrugged. "I mean, I'm strong, I guess the other are too, but you don't really expect us to take on pieces of Boscha with our normal weapons, right?"

"Of course not, that would be a death wish," Sad-One remarked before Glad-One took over. "So, the Master of Masters and I decided to make something for you!"

The spherical robot pushed a button, and opened a room near the screens. The groups walked inside, and their attention was caught by what they saw: mechanical full sets of body armor, primarily white with colored highlights, resembling the armor of the Maverick Hunters, as Chloe could attest.

At least, that's what caught most of their eyes: Simon and Grace were instead focused on the broken capsule with a set of numbers underneath.

"H-A-Z-E-L..." Grace said. "Hazel..."

Simon narrowed his eyes. "What's this doing here?"

"Simon! Grace! Look!" Alex said cheerfully as he and the other kids struck a pose. "We're the Zenith Rangers!"

"You should do like the kids and put your armors on," One-One stated. "You're gonna need them where you're going."

"Why?" Grace asked, standing up. "Where are we even going?"

The Master of Masters was quick to answer:

"You're going to a Car based on the world that bred and raised Boscha to be the way she is... the Boiling Underworld Car."


Meanwhile, near the beach of the Boiling Underworld, a certain dark-skinned girl known as Skara Brae placed a certain avian-shaped Palisman on a pedestal, and took a deep breath before extending her hands towards it.

"I hope this works. Otherwise, I'm stuck here for even longer."

She closed her eyes and focused, and for the first few seconds, nothing happened.

However, eventually, the Palisman shook a little, which caught her attention, but only for a brief moment.

She quickly went back to focusing, and the Palisman began shaking more and more, until finally, it landed straight up as its wooden colors changed.

Instead of being entirely Brown, the avian Palisman turned into a very deep shade of blue, with a light blue underbelly, a white face and Golden eyes that it opened in tandem with Skara.

Skara's eyes widened as she put her hands together, and the bird happily jumped into her palms, chirping once before shaking.

"I can't believe it..." Skara smiled brightly. "I did it..."

Skara threw the bird in the air, and giggled as it began flying in circles around her, only stopping when Skara took out her wand-flute hybrid. The bird rested on the top of the hybrid staff, and Skara laughed in joy as she proclaimed:

"I awoke my Palisman!"

Chapter Text

Why can't I stop updating this story?! Oh well, at least it's not a rant chapter this time.

So, as some of you may know, Green_Phantom_Queen is writing a prequel of this story, titled "Melancholy Afterlife". And honestly, the fact this story got a prequel from the writer of the story who inspired it barely two or so months after it began is incredible.

But that's not what I wanna talk about. I wanna discuss the prequel itself, and I have to start from the biggest elephant in the room.

Specter, and Chloe's crush on him.

Now, I'm gonna bring up a spoiler warning, but I'm gonna keep the spoilers on the smaller side. And yes, I don't know what that means either.

When I wrote that little tidbit at the end of The Revamped Mall Car, it was nothing more than a joke. A little jab at Queen's insane love for the character.

But then Melancholy Afterlife happened, and the relationship became... problematic.

Chloe's ten years old, while Specter looks like a teenager edging on a man, and is over a hundred years old as a mirror youkai. Couple that with the... disturbingly affectionate with Chloe in their interactions, and he's just a kiss or intimacy moment away from being a child Predator.

And no, I refuse to take "he's just acting on his master's behalf" as a valid excuse. This isn't about what the Master does, it's about what Specter does. Which brings me to the next point.

The Spearow incident... is kinda Specter's fault.

Not gonna go on many spoilers, but before it happened, Specter handed Chloe a Trainer beginner kit. That's all fine and dandy, except it doesn't even come with a Pokémon for her to use in case a Pokémon attacks her.

Because believe it or not, that's kind of a possibility when you're Pokémon hunting.

And even worse, Specter just... leaves her with the kit alone, and doesn't show up when she gets attacked by the Spearows. Sure, you could argue he didn't have a reflective surface to come out of, but that only makes Chloe look incredibly naive by thinking this random dude she just met recently was going to drop everything he was doing to come rescue her.

But the thing that bothered me about that is... Chloe doesn't have any bad words for Specter once it's all over.

She snaps at Goh for not being there for her, which I get. She snaps at Ash for causing the Alola trip, which while I get, I think Chloe's just as guilty for not asking about it earlier, or really, waiting until the last minute to say she wanted to go with them.

But Specter? Nah, he's innocent. He didn't know Chloe might need a Pokémon to defend herself against other Pokémon. He didn't know she'd be attacked by Spearows in such a way that it'd leave her traumatized. 

It's not like Chloe's Big Bad father, Professor Cerise. He told her to try, but didn't do anything else. That clearly makes him worse compared to him.

Look, I don't have the energy, nor the motivation to go in depth about this, so I'm just gonna be blunt: yes, the Professor should've done more for Chloe. And yes, he should've let her join the Alolan trip. He should've done much more for her, but he didn't convince her to go and get herself traumatized.

We've been through this song and dance already; and you already ran it pretty dry the first time.

In fact, the flashbacks featured in the prequel are very much like Blossoming Trail: Chloe's being treated unfairly, Goh and Ash and her father come across as pricks who are either insensitive or sexist towards her, and the story takes her side while snapping at them for treating her unequally.

Yes, it's more nuanced, but it's mostly the same thing as before. The only new things I can think of is the Spearow incident and Specter, and I already went over how the latter shoots himself in the foot so much, it's a miracle he can still walk.

But everything else? I enjoy it. It's nice to see Azada again, nice to see Lexi and Titus, and the fact the former's gonna have more screentime makes me happy since he wasn't given much to do in BT.

But the Specter stuff can be very hard to deal with, and I understand. Believe me; I'm gonna make sure Chloe realizes not only that Specter isn't all that he's cracked out to be, but that her crush on him has done her more harm than good.

Because spoiler alert: her crush on him is part of the reason she's a Static Passenger in the first place.

As for the rest of the story, I think it's doing good so far. The Specter and flashback bits can be hard to get through, the latter moreso if you couldn't stand Blossoming Trail's beginnings, even if they're more nuanced there than Act 1 of  BT ever was.

So, give the prequel a look when you can. And thanks again to Green_Phantom_Queen for not only being an inspiration, but for writing this prequel.

Your writing might send me up the walls at times, but when it's good, it's real good.

And that's it from me today. See you guys next week on the next chapter of Boiling Point. Peace out.

Chapter Text

Okay, so, time to get going into the most disturbing Car featured yet: The Boiling Underworld Car. And truth be told, I realized something. Remember in the rant chapter, where I snapped that Green_Phantom_Queen could've put the Apex to better use, like giving them more focus and such?

Well, you guys are probably gonna see me do them even more dirty. If only because Hazel's presence is gonna outshine them so freaking much. I mean, I'll certainly try to focus on them, but with everything else I got planned... yeah...

Anyhow, this chapter's fairly simple: we're gonna see Skara with her Palisman, find out Amelia's reason for bullying Skara, and then end with the Infinity Train stuff. Just try to go easy before things get intense, you know?

I mean, I say that, but things are probably gonna get intense anyway. XD

For those wondering who Hazel Hughes is, don't fret, you'll get an answer soon enough. Just be a little patient while the anticipation eats everyone alive. No big deal, right? XD

Now, I'm sure this question has popped up in your head: is Act 2 gonna be like Blossoming Trail's Act 2, where things not only got much darker and deconstructive, but the horror was taken up to Eleven with the Unown?

Well, for starters, we don't have the Unown here, so an UnBoscha isn't gonna happen anytime soon. But the better question, isn't this story already darker than BT's Act 2 as is?

I mean, let's see: we have bullying from Boscha and the consequences of it, Skara being all sorts of beaten, manipulated, and nearly getting eaten once, not to mention becoming a monstrous hybrid, child mutilation on Boscha's part to the kids of the Apex, children beating the shit out of each other followed by a breaking speech and implied torture that leads to the torturee becoming a psychopath, constant miscarriages of justice, people being assaulted due to a connection to someone else, cannibalism that, in one instance, turns the eater into what they ate, a brutal fight that ends with one of the fighters lodging an icicle through the other's head and systematically destroying them without holding back, a hellish world that's actually the stomach of a giant corpse that kills those not strong enough to survive in it, Simon being a good guy for once...

You know what, nevermind, this story's nowhere near as dark as Blossoming Trail. Forget I mentioned that. XD

Finally, what might upset everyone: I don't think this story's getting a sequel. I honestly don't know how I could top what I do have here.

Instead, I'll focus on this story and give it a proper end. Better than nothing, right?

And now, let's go to the Boiling Underworld Car!


Skara hummed a little tune while walking out of the beach, her newly awoken Palisman flying next to her. And just for fun, she took out and began playing her flute.

Her Palisman sang a little tune soon after, catching her attention and prompting her to stop. She turned around, and flashed a smile, the Palisman returning the gesture.

Skara played a short tune, and the Palisman sang the rest of it. Skara tried again, and got the same result.

And finally, Skara and the avian Palisman harmonized, singing the same tune together, at the same time, ending when the Palisman spun around, then landed on Skara's head.

"Hahaha! This is even better than I thought!" Skara chirped as she pocketed her flute. "Oh how I wish I was back at the Boiling Isles, I can just imagine how everyone would react! Warden Wrath, Principal Bump... Amity..."

Skara lowered her head and frowned. "Boscha..."

The Palisman pecked Skara's head, returning her to reality.

"You know, I did have something planned for when this happened." Skara took out a note from her pocket. "And I haven't heard from the Boiling Isles in a while, so, better late than never."

Skara handed the note to the Palisman, who grabbed it with its beak before flying away, all while Skara chirped:

"Fly, my pretty Palisman! Fly!"

And in a few seconds, the Palisman had left the hellhole that was the Boiling Underworld, leaving Skara behind to think hopefully.

I hope they get the message...


Meanwhile, back at the Infinity Train, Zenith Fantasy and the Red Lotus Trio stood in front of the door leading to their next destination: the Boiling Underworld Car. They all wore the armors One-One and the Master of Masters made, so they were dressed for whatever came behind the door, at least.

"So, behind this door, is the place that's the reason why the psycho turned out the way she is," Grace took a deep breath. "Something tells me we're gonna see a lot of messed up stuff."

"Can't be any more messed up than having to work with a group of serial Denizen killers," Chloe remarked as she walked to the door. "And besides, the longer we stay here, the more time we waste. Let's get going already!"

Chloe tilted the doorknob, and opened the door to reveal quite a shocking sight: meaty walls and floor, oceans of stomach acid...

And Hazel standing on top of a bunch of defeated Denizens wearing white clothes, holding one by the throat with an exposed hand.

The Denizen hummed as they tried to break free, only to be sucked dry like a grape while Hazel's hand glowed, Eventually leaving nothing but the White clothes behind.

"Okay, are we sure we got the right Car?" Lexi asked worriedly.

Shortly after, Hazel jumped off the mountain and landed on her feet, dusting herself as she scoffed:

"So, we meet again..."

She raised her head and flashed an audacious grin.

"Inferiors and inferiorettes!"

Todd's eyes widened. "Hazel?!"

"Oh hi, Todd sweetie! I didn't see you there!" Hazel chirped, clasping her hands while blushing slightly. "How have you been, darling!"

"Uh, I'm..." Todd raised an eyebrow. "Fine?"

"Okay, first of all, who are you?" Lexi asked sternly. "And second of all, what are you doing here!?"

"I'm Hazel, the second in-command of the new and improved Apex," Hazel answered, narrowing her eyes as she added. "And I'm here to deal with a few loose ends unrelated to any of you."

"Wait a minute, you're a member of the Apex?" Lexi narrowed his eyes and unveiled his paper kunais. "Well then, I got a message for you to deliver!"

Lexi threw the kunais at Hazel, whose skin turned into metal moments before the kunai hit her harmlessly.

The paper guy then unleashed more kunais and ran towards Hazel, screaming loudly as he did.

"Lexi, stop!" Atticus exclaimed. "We don't know what this girl's capable of!"

"Well, we're not gonna get an idea just by asking her, are we!?"

Once he was close enough, Lexi began slicing at Hazel, who looked rather apathetic as the papers struck her to little effect. Eventually, she got tired of Lexi slicing at her, and promptly punched him in the gut hard enough to not only send him flying back to the Red Lotus Trio, but leave a hole in his stomach, turning him back into a book.

"Lexi!" Chloe cried as she grabbed the weakened book. "Are you okay?!"

The book coughed a bit. "Yeah, just, give me some time to regain my pages..."

"He'll be fine; his type of Denizen can take a lot of punishment before they can't go any longer," Hazel explained as her skin turned back to normal. "And I'd suggest you take the reality check I gave him as a warning sign: don't. Get. In my way."

Simon and Grace unveiled their spears and got ready to fight.

"You really think I'm gonna waste my time fighting you? I already told you..."

Hazel winced as her back glowed, and from it emerged a pair of Purple dragonfly wings.

"I got better things to do than deal with you lot."

With that said, Hazel laughed as she flew to the skies, the teams watching her leave as Simon commented:

"That kid's gonna get weirder and weirder every time we see her, isn't she?"

"That doesn't matter," Atticus stated as he stepped forward. "We still have a mission to accomplish, so let's move forward!"

For once, everybody agreed unanimously with the talking, crowned corgi, and thus the groups walked forward, ready to take on whatever the Car had to offer.


The Palisman landed at the top of the Owl House, then flew down to the ground, where Amity had gathered a peculiar group of people: Luz, Willow, Gus, Viney, Eileen, and Mattholomule.

"Okay, team, we already know why Cat had a beef with Skara: she was far too strong with Healing magic for Cat's petty pride to not feel offended by it."

"Geez, Amity, do you really have to destroy her like that?" Gus asked.

"Especially since it's rich that someone like you would call someone out on their "petty pride," Mattholomule spoke.

"Yes, I do," Amity bluntly responded, ignoring Mattholomule's remark. "Now, the only member of the posse remaining is Amelia. If we find out what her problem was with Skara-"

"Or Boscha," Viney pointed out.

"We can try to better formulate a plan to try minimize the damage until Skara and Boscha hopefully return to pick up the pieces," Amity finished. "Now, any questions?"

"Yeah, didn't the posse have more members?" Mattholomule asked. "I mean, I remember there being up to seven members in it, why are we stopping with Amelia and Cat?"

"Simple: Amelia and Cat are the only other witches besides Skara to remain by Boscha's side; everybody else only hung around her for social status," Amity folded her arms. "And besides, Amelia and Cat were the first students to throw rocks at Skara while she was a half-Griffin-"

"Actually, they were the only ones who did that," Luz pointed out. "Everybody else were either captured, or ran away from the scene."

"Which implies a deeper reasoning for what they were doing, of which we already know what Cat's were," Amity smiled. "All we need to do is find out Amelia's reason and we can get to work!"

"Okay, but how exactly are we gonna "formulate a plan" to deal with their beefs?" Willow asked, Eileen nodding in agreement. "I mean, Cat's insecure because Skara's a better Healing user than she is, and Amelia's, whatever it is, has got to be hard to deal with whether it's Boscha or Skara who she has a problem with. What do we do?"

Amity opened her mouth, then closed it and shook her head. "One step a time, Willow. First, we find out what's their problem, and then, we make a plan. Now, any more questions before we look for Amelia?"

"Yeah," Viney raised an eyebrow. "Is that bird yours?"

Amity looked at her head, and the Palisman chirped, causing her to scream and jump up, ruffling her hair until the bird flew over to Luz's side.

"Hey, wait a minute," Luz remarked as she took a closer look at the bird. "I think this is Skara's Palisman!"

Amity stopped freaking out. "Wait, Skara's Palisman?"

Everybody surrounded the avian creature, who looked at them with a curious expression, right before chirping a little.

"Yeah, see, it has the same looks and everything!" Luz said. "And it also has a note, apparently?"

Luz grabbed the note, and opened it before she read it out loud.

Dear whoever's reading this, if you got this note, then you've more than likely met my Palisman. And while I'm at it, there's something I'd like to say about that.

Hell yeah! Kiss my incompetence, naysayers! I actually unlocked my Palisman, unlike what you all loved to mock me for! Once I return to the Boiling Isles, I'm gonna shove this fact down everyone's-

Luz and crew had to skip part of the letter, mostly because it was filled with rather... intense language.

"Something tells me she wrote this while she needed to vent," Viney said while Eileen covered Gus' eyes.

"Come on, Eileen!" Gus whined. "I wanna see!"

Once they got through the nasty bits, Luz kept reading:

Anyway, long story short, I've been doing... fine, here in the Boiling Underworld. I can't wait to leave this place, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. I'll definitely be more than happy when I return to the Boiling Isles.

Not gonna go back to Hexside. That place sucks.

With love, Skara Brae.

"Wow, well, that was a little intense," Luz said before handing the letter to Amity. "How about we write something so the Palisman doesn't go back to Skara empty-handed?"

"That sounds like fun!" Gus chirped. "What do we write though?"

"We could brainstorm for ideas," Luz suggested before looking at Amity. "You wanna join us, Amity?"

"Huh? Oh, uh, I'll join you soon," Amity replied. "I... still need to process the fact Skara unlocked her Palisman."

"Sure, if you say so."

And so, the group went to brainstorm for note ideas, leaving Amity behind to sit down and look at the note again...

All while the avian Palisman kept looking at her. Amity tried to ignore it, but the creature's unblinking stare quickly got on her nerves, and eventually, she snapped:

"What do you want!?"

The bird chirped, then hopped off to Amity's side, pecking the back of the note so Amity would pay attention to it.

At first, she saw nothing of interest, just a blank page. But then, she thought she saw something... odd.

She drew a circle on the air, and summoned an UV light generator, because of course she could, and used it on the empty page...

"My Titan, what... what is this?!"


Back with Skara, she played her flute alongside a pair of musicians wearing white cloaks, playing a drumset and a keytar respectively. They were surrounded by a group of fans, who each had their arms raised up high, index finger extended with a tiny fireball on top, which they moved left and right to the tune of the beat.

And once they finished their song, Skara curtsied as the underworlders cheered, their howls of excitement coming along with a few donations on one of the performer's hat.

And once they left, the group checked their money.

"Pretty good, if I do say so myself," the drummet said. "Thanks again for your help, Skara."

"No problem, it's always a pleasure to bring some music to the Boiling Underworld," Skara shrugged and rolled her eyes. "Or at least, bring something that'll take everyone's mind off how terrible this place is."

The drummer chuckled. "We'll take a break before doing our last song. Why don't you go talk with some people?"

"I wouldn't mind that-"

"Excuse me?"

Skara turned around, and saw a small girl with dark skin, a white robe, and grey hair covering her eyes, looking at her.

"Can I talk with you?"

Skara looked at her fellow musicians, who nodded, and the winged witch promptly got off the stage and followed the girl.

"I heard your music just now," the child said. "It's really pretty."

"Well, thanks," Skara pocketed her hands. "I don't like to brag, but I was one of the better Bards back in Hexside."

"You really do uphold that title," the girl giggled. "But anyway, I wanted to talk to you for a reason."

Skara smiled. "You wanna suggest a tune we could play, right?"

"Not exactly."

The girl reached for her back, and took out... a bird-shaped doll.

"I was told to give this to you by... a special person," she said before Skara grabbed the doll. "I hope you like it."

Skara took a closer look at the doll and scratched her head.

"Well, it's a pretty doll, but-"

Then, she nearly dropped the doll when she saw steam emanating from the girl, a sight that she quickly recognized.

"Yeah, I'm afraid my time was almost up," the girl sighed. "I just wanted to see the one named Skara Brae before the Underworld consumed me."

"I hate it when this happens," Skara frowned, forcing herself to look as the girl began dissolving. "I always get depressed after seeing the Boiling Underworld take another life."

The child smiled as they pushed the doll closer to Skara.

"That just means you care. And that you want things to change. That makes you better than the Urodelas will ever be."

The child smiled.

"I hope you save us all... Your Highness."

And with that, the girl evaporated, dissipating into light as Skara watched her remains fly into the sky.

"Your Highness?"

Skara looked back at the doll... and grabbed her head in pain as the same third eye symbol that appeared on Amity's head before, this one flickering before vanishing from existence.

"Skara! There you are!"

The girl turned around, and saw none other than Prometheus approaching her, the citizens of the Boiling Underworld running away or diverting their sights upon seeing him.

"It's about time for lunch," he said. "Persephone's gonna get very sad if you're not there to eat with her."

"Yeah, I know," Skara waved her hand. "I'll go to the mansion in a minute. I just need to finish another music show I gotta attend to."

Prometheus shook his head. "Skara, Skara, Skara, when are you going to stop wasting your time with these Weaklings and Nothings? Your songs can't save them, you know?"

Skara narrowed her eyes. "At least I'm doing something to help them pass away peacefully."

Prometheus remained quiet for a moment, then responded sternly:

"Don't stay out too late. Persephone can only wait for so long."

And with those words spoken, the ruler of the Underworld walked away, leaving Skara behind to catch her breath.

And just in time, too, since her Palisman appeared right then and there.

"Hey there, my dear friend," she said as the Palisman rested on her head. "How did it go? Did you deliver the thing?"

The bird chirped, then handed her the note from the Isles crew. It was a collection of notes, actually, each pretty short and straight to the point... until she reached the final one, written by Amity herself:

We'll come save you, I promise.

Skara's eyes widened, before she flashed a pleased smile.


Amelia sat down on a log next to a campfire, clasping her hands together seemingly in prayer, and with her bare feet touching the ground. As soon as Willow noticed, she approached her.

"Hi, Amelia-"

The greenette screamed and summoned several vines to restrain Willow, whose glasses tilted down in shock.

"Oh my, sorry Willow!"

Amelia returned the vines to the ground and rubbed her arm as Willow dusted herself.

"I... see you've been practicing."

"I'm so sorry, Willow, I didn't mean to freak out like that," Amelia looked elsewhere. "I've been feeling a little jumpy for a while now."

Willow frowned. "Ever since Skara left the Boiling Isles, right?"

Amelia closed her eyes and sat back down, covering her face in shame as Willow sat down next to her, and patted her back.

"I didn't want things to go so bad... I didn't want her to abandon Hexside..." Amelia began shivering. "I just wanted Boscha to pay for what she did, and I didn't know what else to do..."

"You're sorry for what you did," Willow pointed out with a weary sigh. "That already makes you better than everybody else I've met."

"No..." Amelia shook her head. "It doesn't..."

Willow lowered her eyelids. "You said you wanted Skara to pay for what Boscha did. What, exactly, did Boscha do to you?"

Amelia sniffed and took a deep breath, uncovering her face to reveal her trail of tears as she answered:

"Do you promise not to tell anybody?"

Willow nodded. "Your secret's safe with me."

"Can your friends promise to keep quiet, too?"

Willow winced. "W-What friends?"

"The ones hiding behind the trees nearby."

The rest of the group jumped out of hiding, each of them equally shocked and gasping as Willow asked:

"How did you know?"

"I'm barefoot," Amelia said, raising one of her feet. "Those attuned with Plant magic can connect and sense the environment around them by placing their bare feet on the ground. We had a recap about it last week."

Amity turned to Luz, the only one in the group besides Willow who'd know about that, and the Human girl sheepishly hid back inside her bush.

"Anyway, do they promise or not?"

The group nodded in unison, and Amelia took a deep breath, just long enough for the group to get close to her and listen:

"I... may or may not have been taking care of my own personal Mandragora after class-"

"WHAT?!" Viney exclaimed. "You know how dangerous those things are!"

"If they get strong enough, they can even tear down buildings!" Mattholomule pointed out. "And that's just the normal garden variety, don't even get me started on the Dire Mandragora-"

"Please don't," the group stated in unison.

"Thank you!"

"Well, if it helps," Amelia blushed and twiddled her fingers. "I wasn't taking care of it alone."

"That just means you had an accomplice," Viney pointed out. "And I think I know who it is."

"Amelia, I got the herbs!"

Everybody turned around, and saw Jerbo and Barcus arrive, the latter holding some herbs on his mouth while the former had them on his arms.

Then he looked at the team, and his smile vanished.

"Why am I not surprised you're here?"

A quick explanation later, Jerbo and Barcus were sitting on the opposite log, Viney rubbing her forehead while pacing back and forth.

"I always knew it was odd that whenever Barcus and I invited you to do something after school, you said you were busy," Viney stopped and turned around, raising an eyebrow. "Now the question is, why? Why would you go so far as to raise a magical creature without even asking me, someone from the Beastkeeping track, to help?!"

"Because raising it together was my gift for Amelia," Jerbo answered as Amelia sat next to him. "For our three month anniversary."

"Your what now!?"

Jerbo and Amelia held hands, and flashed a smile, Jerbo's looking a bit more smug as Viney blushed and shook her head.

"Okay, sure! You have a girlfriend now!"

"I've had a girlfriend for months now, actually."

Viney winced and pouted. "Right, congratulations! Can we get back on topic now, please!?"

"Viney, are you okay?" Amelia asked innocently. "You're fuming at the mouth, and blushing as red as blood." Amelia tilted her head. "It kinda looks like you're jealous-"

"JEALOUS!?"

Willow immediately restrained Viney with some vines, fittingly enough, and pulled her back to the group, allowing Amity to take it from there.

"What does that have to do with Boscha?!"

"Nothing, we just found out we liked each other and-"

"Not the fact you're dating! The fact you were-" Amity paused. "Raising... a Mandragora..."

Jerbo and Amelia lowered their heads.

"Wait... don't tell me..."

Amelia frowned, Jerbo comforting her as Amity sighed and rubbed her forehead.

"Oh my Titan..."

"The more I find out what Boscha did, the more she seems like a jerk," Mattholomule scratched his chin. "But what are the chances that the Mandragora Boscha killed in order to prank Amity would be the exact same Mandragora you've been raising?"

"We don't know how this happened either," Amelia sighed. "All we know is that Boscha and Skara did it, and by the time we checked to see if this was the same Mandragora, Principal Bump had already ripped off its heart and killed it."

"We were both pretty angry at Boscha and Skara over what happened afterwards," Jerbo added. "Amelia joined with Cat to deal with her anger over the situation, while I tried to think of how to convince Skara to make up for both that, and destroying my house."

"I see," Willow hummed before looking at Amelia again. "So that's why you two beat up Skara and left the posse."

"Well, that's the reason I did it," Amelia shrugged. "As far as I know, Cat was just being petty as usual."


Meanwhile, at the Hexside Healing track classroom, Cat sneezed before blowing away some dust, which came from the erasers she was dusting.

"Who puts someone allergic to dust on dusting duty?! I mean, seriously!"


"Anyway, that's that," Amelia raised her head. "H-Have you heard from Skara? Is she doing well?"

"She's still in the Boiling Underworld," Viney pointed out.

"Well, we did get a note from her recently," Amity answered, looking at the ground as she added. "And I did want to find out why both you and Cat did what you did before I discussed something else."

Luz raised an eyebrow. "Something else?"

Amity turned to Luz. "When everybody began searching for Amelia, I noticed something odd about the back of the letter-"

"But there's nothing behind the letter, Amity."

Amity shook her head. "No, Luz, it only looks like there's nothing behind the letter."

Amity drew a circle in the air, and it generated an UV light scanner. She used it on the back of the letter... and revealed another message as Luz's eyes widened.

"Invisible ink..."


Meanwhile, back at the Boiling Underworld Car, the groups tried to keep their lunch in their stomachs as they traveled through the meaty ground of the Car, surrounded by a sea of stomach acid, and inhabitated by people cloaked in white.

One thing was for certain, everyone was unnerved by the Car... except Alex and Atticus, who were busy having a friendly chat, of all things.

"So, yeah, my family had a corgi when I was little, we called him Odin," Alex said. "He was kinda like you, except Brown instead of Yellow."

"He sounds like an interesting fellow," Atticus tilted his head. "What happened to him?"

Alex's expression gained a hint of sadness to it. "Truth is, he was the family dog from a few years back. So, he was pretty old. He was energetic when I was a baby, but by the time I could think, he was already pretty old."

Alex lowered his head. "And before I knew it, he couldn't go any longer... and passed on."

The atmosphere grew tense as Atticus frowned, unafraid to show sympathy to the boy even when Lexi could clearly be felt telling him not to do it with a glare.

"This question might be a bit... personal," the corgi king spoke. "But is that the reason why you ended on the Infinity Train?"

"Nah, that's just a sad moment of life I'm still not over. I think it might have more to do with that time I nearly drowned once."

Despite there being no record players anywhere, a record scratch was still heard as everybody stopped and faced the boy, Simon, Grace, and Phos looking particularly shocked.

"You what?!"

"Yeah, I nearly drowned once, and ever since then I've been afraid of deep bodies of water," Alex raised an eyebrow. "Did I never tell you about that?"

"No!" Simon and Grace shouted in equal shock and disbelief.

"Huh, that's odd..." Alex scratched his cheek. "How long have I been on this Train, again?"

"Dude, don't you remember?" Lindsay flew down to Alex's side. "You entered the Train about a week after I did, and then another week passed before we had that mission when we first met Boscha-"

"Don't say her name!" Lucy screamed, shivering while hugging Todd. "You're going to summon her!"

"She's crucified in the Heartyard Car and we're currently looking for living pieces of her soul, she's no longer the boogeyman!" Lindsay snapped. "Anyway, let's be generous and say you've been here for about two months. Which means you've kept this very important piece of information for two months!"

Alex paused for a moment, then shrugged with a sheepish smile. "Well, better late than never, right?"

Simon and Grace facepalmed, while Phos rubbed his forehead.

"You know, the sad thing is, even despite the massive blunder on your part," Chloe said before looking at the leaders of Zenith Fantasy. "You're still better than my own parents."

"You, shut up," Simon told Chloe before facing Alex. "As for you, Alex, we'll talk about this later. For now, let's call One-One and see if he can tell us what the heck we're looking for."

"Could it be that?"

Everybody looked at the spot Lucy pointed at, and they saw a meaty, mountain-like structure, with an odd-looking blade resting on top of it.

"What is that thing?" Phos asked.

"I think it's a Keyblade," Todd said, tilting his head. "The real question is, what's it doing here?"

"The only way to damage the Denizens made from one person's soul, is with a weapon made from that same soul."

Everybody looked around for the source of the voice, only to come up short.

"Hey, wait a minute!" Lucy chirped with glimmering eyes. "Does that mean this is the part where we're given Keyblades?!"

"Close, but not quite."

The group looked up to see the source of the voice... which was Boscha's Nobody, sporting a little smile as she clarified:

"This is the part where you earn your Keyblades."

Chapter Text

And now we continue with the reveal of just what Skara's hidden message said, as well as see the tests that Boscha's Nobody has in store for the groups.

This is gonna get messed up, isn't it?

Anyway, before we begin, I'm sure last chapter left you with some questions, so I'm gonna do my very best to answer at least a few of them.

First of all, this one comes a little beyond the last chapter, but I do feel it's worth pointing out: Amelia taking control of the Revamped Apex.

This was actually a mission given to her by both One-One and the Master of Masters. The latter mostly giving the argument for why: with the Boschazens now a thing, chaos can only spread if any former Apex kid runs into one of them by accident, so wouldn't it be better if they had a leader to protect them?

And then One-One was like "You know, he has a point" and politely asked Amelia to do it.

And yes, Hazel was brought up during that conversation. Let's leave it at that.

Is The Cat doing alright? I like to think so, but given what Simon said about Amelia potentially quarantining her Car, she's not exactly safe.

Who even is Hazel Hughes? Is she and the Hazel we know one and the same? That'll be revealed soon enough.

What happens to a Passenger of the Denizens made from their soul are killed? Then the piece of the Passenger that Denizen represents is well and truly gone: killing The True Apex would erase Boscha's need to be the best and see everyone as beneath them, and if, say, Amelia was subjected to the Heart System, and a Denizen was made to represent her grief over Alrick and then it'd kick the bucket, her mourning would be gone. Of course, just killing the Denizens isn't the same as fixing the problem: you need to kill whatever's stopping the Passenger from growing and changing, and also help the other Denizens deal with their own problems to help the Passenger as much as possible.

Can Denizens be subjected to the Heart System? HAHAHAHAHAHA no.

When did the Heart System even come to be? Okay, so the full story is spoilergeddon territory, so I'll make it simple: it was being created by the time Amelia partnered up with One, and was more or less finished a decade or so into her reign as the Conductor.

What are Hazel's thoughts on Alrick? Truth be told, I don't think she cares about him. Right now, she has laser focus set on Amelia; she might think of Alrick once in a while, but Amelia's on her mind first and foremost.

Can Hazel shapeshift? I like to think so, but given that a month or so has passed since she discovered her true nature, she's gained enough experience to turn it on and off at will. We haven't seen her take her turtle form because she doesn't want to, plain and simple.

If Hazel's been part of the Apex for a while, how come she hasn't been exposed yet? Well, for starters, I like to think the uniforms the Apex are made to wear now have some sort of defense against corrupted data and such, or something that would protect them from whatever's infecting the Train. As long as Hazel wears her uniform, the pulse won't register her. Either that, or Amelia and the Apex are just too dumb or oblivious to notice XD.

Did you hear about the season two finale of Amphibia, "True Colors", being delayed at the last second, and the fact iTunes technically leaked the episode-yes. I've seen the news.

Let's leave it at that.

And I think that's it for now. Onto the chapter! :)


Back where we left off, the groups stood stunned as they saw Boscha's Nobody looking down at them, leaning against one of the armors.

"So, you're Boscha's... Nobody, right?" Chloe asked.

The Nobody lowered her eyelids. "You can call me Casxboh. Or if that's too difficult, Boa should suffice."

"Boa?" Grace repeated. "You mean like the snake?"

The Nobody remained silent, at least until Lucy exclaimed:

"Where are the keyblades?!"

Boa snickered. "Like I already told you, the Keyblades must be earned. They won't appear until you prove yourselves worthy of wielding them. And I already have a test ready just for that."

She snapped her fingers, and four armors formed from the meaty floor, the visceral sounds of their arrival unnerving everyone as the armors dusted themselves.

"These armors were once used by the four strongest warriors in the Boiling Underworld. Warriors whose existence is now nothing but a myth: the Boiling Elementals."

The armors got ready for combat as Boa called their names:

"Salamander. Undine. Gnome. And Sylph."

"Wait, Salamander?" Lucy repeated before turning to Lindsay. "Didn't she mention in our original fight that she was the heir to the Salamander's flames or something?"

"No, she said she was the heir to the Boiling Underworld," Grace answered. "With the Salamander, she said she now wielded their flames."

"Well if this armor has anything close to her firepower," Simon narrowed his eyes. "We might have our work cut out for us."

Phos squinted their eyes, taking a closer look at the blue armor, who had their head laying low.

"Is something wrong, Phos?" Chris asked.

"Something about that armor feels..." Phos clenched their fists. "Off..."

"Zenith Fantasy, you will fight Boiling Salamander."

"What a surprise," Simon grumbled, rolling his eyes.

Boa ignored the remark and faced Chloe's group, the redhead flinching when her eyes locked with the Nobody.

"Red Lotus Trio, you will fight Boiling Gnome."

Chloe narrowed her eyes and nodded, prompting Lexi to speak up:

"I think... I can fight now-"

"No, Lexi," Chloe stated. "You're gonna stay at the sidelines until you've fully recovered."

"Uh, excuse me? I said Red Lotus Trio," Boa narrowed her eyes. "That means all of you have to fight."

"Lexi's still injured from the punch he got from Hazel, and Atticus can't fight at all," Chloe answered, keeping her eyes on the Nobody as she pointed at her teammates. "I'm practically the only one who can fight right now!"

Boa raised an eyebrow. "If only one of you can fight, why drag along the other two?"

"To provide moral and emotional support!" Chloe snapped. "Look, Lexi will get healed soon, so could you cut us some slack?"

"Clearly, your Train-made fame has gotten to your head. If you think I'm gonna go easy on you just because you're allegedly famous on the Train, then think again."

Chloe gritted her teeth, but she couldn't do more than mutter as Boa looked at Chris and Phos.

"And Phosphophyllite, you and Chris shall fight Boiling Undine and Boiling Sylph."

Phos' eyes widened. "She didn't call me Phos..."

"Hey, wait a minute, that seems a little unfair!" Lucy snapped, taking a step forward. "Why does the Gem Denizen have to fight two of the armors while we got one each?!"

"You mean the Gem Null, right?" Lindsay pondered out loud.

Simon's angry expression was all the answer Lindsay needed.

"Help!"

Zenith Fantasy turned to face the source of the scream, and saw a most peculiar sight: a girl that looked like Hazel... running away from the winged Hazel they met before.

"Hey, am I seeing double," Todd grimaced. "Or did I just see Hazel running away from Hazel?"

"No, I definitely just saw that, too," Lucy grimaced. "You think we should go help her?"

"The loose end..." Simon remarked with wide eyes.

"Hey, uh, can we put this test on hold?" Grace asked Boa. "There's something we need to do-"

"If you don't do this test now," Boa lowered her eyelids. "You'll lose the chance to earn your Keyblades forever."

Zenith Fantasy gasped, prompting the Red Lotus Trio to step in.

"That's completely unfair!" Atticus snapped, narrowing his eyes as he glared at the Nobody. "We're both going on a mission to help heal you from your childhood trauma, so you don't destroy the Train, and you'll deny them the weapon to help you?!"

"The Boiling Underworld is the definition of unfair: a world that eats you alive if you're not strong enough, and even if you're strong, it puts you to the test nearly every day, putting your life at risk in the process," Boa explained as she jumped down the mountain and landed in front of Atticus. "This is but a little hint as to what my life was like before the Train snatched me."

Boa crouched down, the corgi king standing his ground as she added:

"You're saying that I have to help you, so you can help me. But not once did I receive help in my life."

Atticus' eyes widened. "Seriously?"

"An Apex helps, but they never get helped in return," Boa stood up. "For if they're the strongest, then logically, they don't need the help of anybody else. They can deal with it themselves."

Boa lowered her eyelids and her head.

"They can deal with their problems themselves."

Chloe frowned with sympathy at the statement.

"Therefore, there's only so much I can do," Boa faced Zenith Fantasy. "I can't just give you the right answer whenever you wish; that's something you'll have to do yourself. So, make a decision, and whatever happens next..."

Boa narrowed her eyes. "Accept the consequences."

Simon and Grace exchanged looks, and after a moment of silence, they nodded and turned to the kids, who watched Alex dip the shield in the stomach acid... only for it to come out unscathed.

"Alright, it's immune to the stomach acid!" Alex chirped before hopping into the shield and into the "water". "Lindsay, give me some wind!"

"You got it!"

Lindsay took a deep breath, then let out a gust of wind, sending Alex towards the fleeting the girl before she promptly used the Winds to elevate her, Lucy, and Todd to the upper structure.

"Are you kidding me!?" Lexi exclaimed, getting the duo's attention. "You're seriously going to lose the Keyblades just to help a girl!?"

"I mean, if we don't, who will?" Grace asked. "You guys are gonna be busy with the remaining armors, and I don't know if Boa will do it instead."

"But this is the only chance we're going to get to receive the weapons needed to fight the Boschazens!" Lexi pointed out. "If you don't get the Keyblades, you'll be useless against them!"

"We'll find another way to provide help," Simon stated, rolling his eyes. "You just focus on getting your Keyblades, we'll be back in a minute."

Simon and Grace raised their spears, and began spinning them until they started floating up, heading towards the upper structure as the Red Lotus Trio watched them leave.

"They just screwed us over," Lexi shook his head. "Of course they did..."

Chloe and Atticus watched the group leave, the latter looking particular happy at the fleeting Alex, before Boa caught their attention with a fingersnap.

"Alright, if nobody else is going to leave..."

The Boiling Gnome armor floated towards Boa, and in the blink of an eye, the Nobody merged with it, flashing a serious expression as she stated:

"Let's get started. Oh, and Phosphophyllite?"

The Gem Denizen raised an eyebrow, only to look on with shock and horror as the Boiling Undine armor raised their head, revealing Lapis Lazuli donning the armor.

"Lapis?!" was Phos' stunned response.

Boa lowered her head regretfully, sighing:

"Forgive me for this."


To whoever manages to decipher this message, please listen.

I've made a mistake. A terrible mistake.

Back when I made my faithful decision to leave the Boiling Isles, I wasn't in the right state of mind. There were so many things that I had trouble processing: that Boscha wasn't a nice person, that Amity wanted nothing to do with us, that I had given people no reason to see me as myself and not an extension of Boscha, and that nobody would ever give me a second chance to prove that I wasn't like Boscha... it was a lot.

In fact, it was too much. I wasn't thinking about what was better for me in the long term: I was only thinking on the present.

And in that moment, when my mind was swarming with all those revelations, all I could think about was to escape. To run away from it all. To leave the Boiling Isles, and go anywhere else.

So, I went to the Boiling Underworld... and I can't even leave. The rulers... Prometheus and Amirani... they just won't let me return to the Boiling Isles.

I know I'm asking too much. And yes, I know that whoever reads this could just as easily crumble this paper and throw it away. But I need to ask this regardless.

Please... Save me...

And with that, the group, alongside a stunned Amelia and Cat, finished hearing Amity recapping what the note's hidden message said. Once done, she rolled the paper, and sat down, the avian Palisman resting on her head as she took a moment to breath.

"So, as you can see," Amity raised her head and frowned. "It appears that Skara's in trouble."

"Yeah, that message wasn't exactly subtle, Amity," Cat folded her arms. "But what exactly do you expect us to do?"

Amity scratched her chin. "Going to the Boiling Underworld all together won't give us any results. At best, we might get incarcerated with Skara, and at worst-"

"We'll be turned into food." Luz winced.

"But there's something I don't get," Viney remarked out loud. "Why would Boscha's parents keep Skara trapped in the Underworld? Surely they'd know she wouldn't want to stay there."

"My guess is that they want her to stay for sentimental value," Mattholomule shrugged. "She's Boscha's best friend, after all. If Boscha still hasn't returned, might as well make sure her number two doesn't go away either."

"But we also have to take into account something very important," Cat spoke. "Why do you care about this, Amity?"

Luz narrowed her eyes. "Cat, please, don't say anything you'll regret."

"I'm just saying what's most likely on everybody's mind right now," Cat replied as she walked to Amity. "I mean, think about it: first Amity shoves an icicle right through her head, possibly even through her brain, and now she gets a message that is asking for help, and she brings it to our attention? Doesn't that sound a little suspicious?"

"Suspicious how?" Amity asked sternly.

Cat rolled her eyes and faced Amity. "Did you forget the reason why Skara's in the Boiling Underworld in the first place? She went there because she grew sick and tired of being around you. And being around the Boiling Isles at all."

"Hey, that's not fair!" Gus snapped, standing up. "Everybody in the Isles bullied Skara-"

"And Amity was the breaking point!" Cat spat, causing everyone to flinch. "She lodged an icicle right through her skull! She told her how much she hated her, and how the Boiling Isles saw her as a chew toy! And she's the one who convinced her that as long as she remained in the Isles, she'd be used as a stress reliever by everybody!"

Cat turned back to Amity. "For all intents and purposes, this situation is your fault. So why don't you go to the Boiling Underworld to check up on Skara?"

"Because Boscha's parents hate me with a passion!" Amity argued. "If I show up at their doorstep and ask to see Skara, they'll skewer me alive, or put my head in a pike, or do any other kind of unspeakable things to me before they even consider letting me see her!"

"Hmph, sounds like an excuse to avoid confronting Karma head on," Cat put her hands on her hips and smirked. "Just like the "Abominable Blight" you really are!"

"Okay, Cat," Luz got off her seat and stood between the duo. "I think that's enough-"

"Stay out of this, Human!"

Cat slapped Luz across the cheek, not only sending her to the ground, but leaving a bright handprint behind, shocking everybody.

"If you truly love this excuse for a witch, you will let her face the consequences-"

"You could send us!"

Everybody faced the source of the voice: Amelia, who stood up while clutching her chest.

"You could send me and Cat! That way, we can both check up on Skara and hopefully make amends with her in one fell swoop!"

"Okay, it's official, you've gone totally nuts!" Cat snapped before she began to walk away. "I'm outta here!"

Suddenly, vines emerged from the ground and trapped Cat within them, the bespectacled witch trying to break free as Willow adjusted her glasses.

"I second Amelia's suggestion."

And with that statement came several more, each agreeing with Amelia's suggestion as the greenette sighed in relief, and Cat grimaced in horror.

As for Amity she walked to Luz's side and helped her stand up. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine," Luz sighed, rubbing her slapped cheek. "Anyway, with Amelia's suggestion approved, you think we're ready to see Skara?"

"Not yet," Amity shook her head. "There's still one more thing we need to do..."

Luz raised an eyebrow, and next thing she knew, she stood in front of Warden Wrath's house alongside Amity, Amelia, and Cat.

She knocked the door three times, and once the warden opened the door, Amity stated:

"We need your help again, Warden Wrath."


Back at the Boiling Underworld Car, the fight for the Keyblades began.

Phos and Chris were immediately attacked by Lapis, who summoned a watery sword to strike at Phos' own. Their blades locked immediately, Phos gritting their teeth as the revived Lapis scoffed:

"So, we meet again, Phos," Lapis snickered with a cocky grin. "And you're still nothing but a blind follower that nobody back in our Car can stand."

Phos gritted their teeth harder as Lapis continued, slowly overpowering Phos.

"Tell me, how's Antarcticite? Or Bort? Or Obsidian? Or Sensei? Have you even bothered to pay them a visit after you joined up with this worthless waste of a Passenger!?"

Phos' eyes widened, and they slowly began to overpower Lapis while responding:

"Take that back!"

"Are you really so stubbornly attached to your programming as a Denizen that you'll ignore the fact this particular Passenger has done nothing but being chaos to the Train!?" Lapis spat back. "And you also willingly stood by her side as she gained a notorious reputation! And now, it's too late! Nobody will want anything to do with you! If any Passenger or Denizen finds you, follower of the Lion of Cremation, you'll be slaughtered! Slandered! Defamed! And all because you couldn't open your eyes and ditch the maniac!"

"As if you were any better!"

Phos finished overpowering Lapis, and the armor-clad Gem slid back, flashing a shocked expression as Phos continued:

"You tricked me into thinking there were Gems at Mana Academy! You made me rush to a certain death trap! One that left me stuck as several dozens of sentient, agonizing shards! And for what?! For your own, morbid curiosity! Well, guess what, Lapis? I'm done with you!"

Lapis gripped their sword, and Phos did the same, proclaiming:

"Even if it takes all my effort, I will put an end to you, right here, right now, Lapis Lazuli!"

And so, the Gems' weapons clashed again, with Chris cheering Phos at the sidelines.

As for the Red Lotus Trio, Atticus got Lexi on his back as Chloe stated:

"Atticus, keep Lexi safe! I'll deal with the Gnome!"

"But Chloe, I'm-"

"Lexi, for the last time, you're not in a good state to fight!" Chloe yelled at the Healing book. "Just shut up, rest, and let me take care of this!"

And next thing Chloe knew, Boa appeared right next to her and punched her hard enough to send her flying across the sea of stomach acid, crashing on a wall covered with bones and causing some objetcts stuck to it to fall to the sea.

And if Chloe wasn't aware of how dangerous the situation was, seeing the objects melt down in an instant gave a clear message.

However, just as she began to fall off, the Sylph Armor flew towards her, and merged with her, just in time to cause her to float above the acid.

"You'll fight me with the Sylph Armor."

Chloe looked up, and saw Boa floating to her, a pair of fireballs beneath her feet.

"That'll make things a little bit more even. Or, if you want, I could take off the armor and send you back to the ground-"

"No, please don't!" Chloe said while waving her hands, shaking her head before regaining her bravado. "I'll work it out!"

Boa lowered her eyelids. "You better."

Chloe clenched her fist and flew towards Boa, ready to strike her. And whatever happened, the resulting clash was felt across the Car.

Especially on the bony structures above, where a dark-skinned, Blonde girl ran as fast as she could across the ground, looking at her surroundings while breathing heavily.

And then she crashed into a certain dragonfly-winged girl known as Hazel, who grabbed her by the throat and lifted her as she took her to the edge.

"So, did you really think you could run away from me?" Hazel smirked. "After everything you did, that you could just walk away!?"

"Please, let's talk this out!" the girl cried, shedding tears while trying to break free. "There's gotta be something else we can do! Some kind of agreement we can reach!"

"Sorry, no such luck for you, girl," Hazel smirked. "I need you out of the picture completely."

The girl grimaced. "You don't have to do this..."

Hazel frowned. "You're right, I don't have to do this."

Then, she flashed a sadistic grin. "I need to do this!"

And with a horrifying grin, Hazel threw the girl down, her screams echoing while they slowly vanished...

Then, without warning, a torrent of stomach acid erupted near Hazel, prompting her to lean back and spread her wings, ready to fly away.

"Zenith Ranger Blue, here!" Alex exclaimed as he and the girl went up. "Hey, are you okay?"

"Y-Yeah..."

Then the geyser stopped, and the kids began falling down.

"Lindsay! Give us a lift!"

Without hesitation, Lindsay used the Winds to fly the pair back down to the bone structure, before flying next to them and striking a pose.

"Zenith Ranger Yellow, here!"

"Ugh, you guys again!?" Hazel hissed as she created a purple fireball. "Why do you insist on getting in my way!?"

Hazel shot the fireball, and at first, it looked like it hit the duo... only for the ground under Hazel to crumble, causing her to fall.

The smoke cloud dissipated soon after, revealing Lucy protecting everyone with the Cloak, and Todd with the Arm Withering the ground.

"Zenith Ranger Red!"

"Zenith Ranger Green!"

"Here!"

Hazel gritted her teeth and used her wings to fly back up, luckily landing above a platform before a pair of energy blasts, one black and one white, pierced her wings, sending her plummeting down.

Simon and Grace appeared soon after, spinning their spears until they landed right next to the kids, Grace flashing a sincere grin while Simon looked like he was about to laugh.

"It's okay, you're safe now," Simon stated as he turned to the girl. "But, just out of curiosity... are you, Hazel Hughes?"

The girl raised her head, and sniffing with tears rolling down her cheeks, she nodded.

Hazel, naturally, winced and backed away as Zenith Fantasy looked sternly at her.

"So, this is the loose end you wanted to tie up," Simon growled. "Get rid of a girl that looks like you?"

Despite the situation, Hazel smirked. "Let me guess: just like the psycho you are, you thought I wanted to kill her?"

Simon narrowed his eyes, but remained silent.

"Well, no, that's not my plan at all. See, I've taken some lengths to get to where I am right nos; and one of those lengths was to replace a former Apex member," Hazel grinned. "And then, it turns out, that there's a girl that not only looks like me, but that her full name makes her sound like Amelia's daughter! Like, what are the chances, right?!"

None of Zenith Fantasy responded, with Hazel Hughes clinging to Grace's leg.

"Tsk, fine. Act like I'm the villain here. Not Amelia, who abandoned me and failed to discipline so I wouldn't turn out as rotten as I did. Not the Apex, whose conquest of the Train years prior forced Amelia to focus on them instead of me. And most certainly not you, the leaders of said group that caused all of this to happen. Clearly, you're all innocent and blameless about what happened."

"This isn't about who's guilty or who's innocent," Grace stated, taking a step forward as he pointed at Hazel with her spear. "This is about the fact you nearly dropped an innocent girl into a pool of acidic death!"

"She's a former member of the Apex. She's not an innocent girl," Hazel smirked. "In fact, she doesn't even need to die by my hand: however she dies, she won't be mourned once she does. Her demise will be thoroughly celebrated. Just like the rest of the Apex."

Hazel stood up as her wings dissipated into nothing, then extended her hand.

"So, how about we skip the "easy way or hard way" cliche, and you hand over the girl right now?"

The other Hazel stayed back, hugging Alex while the boy blushed brightly.

"Guess we're doing this, then."

Hazel reached for her back, took out a circlet, and wore it before stating:

"Xuppu! Havoc Time!"

Hazel was bathed in a golden light as Zenith Fantasy and the other Hazel found themselves frozen in place, almost as if somebody, or something, was forcing them to stay put.

Hazel's uniform transformed into a Purple gi with a yellow, long-sleeved undershirt, lavender boots, white gloves, and a red bandanna and belt, while gaining what looked like a simian tail on her back, the tail being the same color as her hair.

Once the transformation finished, the group managed to move just in time to see Hazel cackling like a monkey, before taking out a staff and aiming it at Zenith Fantasy.

"Now then, let's have some fun, shall we!?"


And back at the Boiling Isles, Luz and Amity walked to the latter's house, while she looked rather worried.

"Do you think Amelia and Cat are going to be fine? This is the Boiling Underworld we're talking about."

Luz frowned and diverted eye contact for a moment, before forcing a smile and patting Amity's back.

"I'm sure Warden Wrath's got everything under control-"

Then, as if on cue, the girls encountered Warden Wrath walking away from the Blight Mansion, looking down for some reason.

"Oh, uh, hi, Warden Wrath!" Luz chirped as the man walked past them. "How did it go?"

The warden stopped, faced the duo, and sighed:

"Go to the mansion. You'll get your answer there."

Well, that wasn't ominous. The girls kept walking to the mansion, and once they entered, they saw a peculiar sight:

The Blight parents, as well as Amity's siblings, looking utterly horrified at an open box, with Emira looking like she was about to vomit.

Luz and Amity walked to the box, though Amity stopped halfway there for some reason, leaving Luz alone to witness what was inside:

A broken pair of glasses with some blood on the tips, and some green, disheveled hair.

"Oh... no..."

Without warning Amity began cackling like a maniac, laughing so loudly that her voice echoed across the manor...

But her expression wasn't one of joy, but rather, terror. Almost as if she was being forced to laugh.

"Amity?" Luz asked worriedly.

"Ohoho, this is rich! Just rich!" Amity spoke, looking horrified as the voice that came out of her mouth wasn't even her own. "To think you'd go and do something so colossaly stupid! But then again, what else did I expect from a Blight?"

Alador's eyes widened. "That voice!"

Odalia, instead, narrowed hers. "Amirani."

Suddenly, Amity's back began contorting until a mass of Abomination goo erupted from it, the goo splitting off from her and hitting the ground as Amity fell to her knees, shedding tears and looking absolutely traumatized.

The goo promptly transformed into a humanoid shape, slowly gaining color and clothes until it became the woman known as Amirani, flashing a sadistic smirk as everybody looked on with shock.

"Wha-bu-whe-how are you even here?!" Luz exclaimed while hugging a crying Amity. "Were you inside Amity all this time or what!?"

"Simple, really: the Abomination pudding Amity so eagerly ate was made out of me. I ripped a couple pieces of myself, and used them in the mix made for the pudding," Amirani explained, looking smugly at Amity as she added. "So, once Amity ate the pudding, it was only a matter of time before she became a Pseudo-Abomination, just like myself."

"You monstrous skank!" Odalia snapped, stomping to the abominable woman. "First you force us to have lunch over at that horrible Boiling Underworld, and then you turn our daughter into an extension of you!?"

Odalia forced herself to stop when Amirani leaned a knife next to her throat, a stern expression on her face.

"That's the least you deserve after everything you did to Persephone."

"Persephone?" Emira asked. "Who's Persephone?"

Amirani snickered. "I figured they never told you. After all, what's the point of telling the truth if they can't spin it to make themselves seem superior?"

Then, she faced Alador, who diverted eye contact as Amirani looked at him with pity.

"I'm so terribly sorry you had to become a part of this family, Alador. Looks like you were just a tool after all."

"Okay, what the hell is going on!?" Edric exclaimed. "What does this all have to do with Mittens, and why are you harassing us like this!?"

"This, dear child, is an example of Amity getting a taste of her own medicine," Amirani looked back to Amity and walked to her. "After blaming anybody but the right person for being wronged, and especially blaming Skara for everything Boscha did, it's about time she sees what it feels to be blamed for someone else's crimes."

Amity gasped and hugged Luz more tightly, the human girl narrowing her eyes as Amirani added:

"But above all else, this is to show everyone what happens when you leave an Underworlder hanging."

Amirani smirked and faced Odalia again.

"My daughter has been missing for over a month, and nobody cares. Not those of the Isles, not those of the Underworld, and most certainly not your family, Odalia."

Amirani grabbed Amity's ear, lifting her entire body in the process.

"Well, perhaps you'll feel more motivated to look for Boscha if I take away your daughter! Persephone's been quite... excited, to meet the girl who brought Skara back to the Boiling Underworld, after all."

Luz immediately reached for her back and took out a glyph, only to falter when Amirani glared at her and began strangling Amity.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," then she scanned the room. "In fact, if any of you try anything funny, I'll make sure the joke gets quite the visceral punchline."

The intent clear, Luz pocketed the glyph, earning a smile from the woman.

"Good girl. Now, while your girlfriend and I go pay Persephone a visit, I think it's about time you and her parents talk about a lot of things."

"Wait a minute, girlfriend?!" Odalia exclaimed. "What does she mean by girlfriend, Amity!?"

"Doesn't feel good when you're the one being kept secrets from, huh?" Amirani laughed, releasing Amity's neck only to grab her in a grapple. "Anyway, we should get going. Oh, and about those little scouts Amity sent, sorry for their deaths, but I needed to send a clear message."

Amirani walked to the door, and destroyed it with a single kick, all while Amity tried to break free from her grasp. Then, before leaving, she looked back at the Blights and stated:

"If you want to get Amity back, you better come get her yourselves."

And so, Amirani walked away, her figure slowly vanishing as everybody left behind tried to process what just happened.

Luz in particular was having a hard time trying to wrap her head around what was going on, but there was one thing clear to her.

"Alador... Odalia..."

Luz faced the Blight parents, and sporting a stern glare that could send chills down even Emperor Belos' spine, she ordered:

"Tell me what you did. Now."

Chapter Text

Okay, this should be the last chapter we spend on the Boiling Underworld Car. After that, we're gonna go back to the Boiling Isles in order to learn more about the whole Amity-Boscha-Skara drama.

Which the intro to this chapter might possibly hint at.

If you're wondering what I mean, well, let's just say that what "Things We Shouldn't Have Said" or chapter 8 was for Act 1, next chapter will be for Act 2.

And you can bet it'll blow your mind. If not out of shock, then out of the dozen or so questions it'll give you.

Of course, after that will come a lighter chapter. At the Infinity Train. Because lord knows at this point that the Boiling Isles, even at its tamest, is still quite intense.

By the way, Voyage of Wisteria, the sequel to Blossoming Trail, has had its prologue posted by the time of this writing.

And yes, I know I'm basically asking you to read that story instead of this one, but hey, it's worth it.

Finally, as anybody who's read Blossoming Trail's latest chapters, there's a coup going on at Myanmar, where Green_Phantom_Queen is currently residing. There are dozens of online petitions to help Myanmar, so when you're done reading this chapter, why not sign one of them to provide a little support to the cause?

And if you can't do that for whatever reason, that's fine: you can also spread the word about it however you can: by mentioning it on an Author's Note, or telling it to your friends, it's fine as long as you let more and more people know about the situation.

Every little bit of help counts. :)

And now, to the chapter!


Several years ago, at Hexside, a younger Odalia and Alador Blight walked across the hallways, the former talking about something while the latter only barely paid attention.

"The preparations for the wedding are almost complete! Not only that, but my aunt's been set to marry Wrath's father, which should give us connections to the Conformatorium!" Odalia chirped while checking a notebook. "And once our own wedding is over, that should give us connections to the Night Market! Not a bad deal, if I do say so myself!"

"Uh huh, yeah," Alador rolled his eyes. "Whatever you say, Odalia."

It didn't take long for the Blight to notice, and disapprove of, her fiance's pessimism. "Listen, I know we're only getting married for political reasons, and we don't even like each other, but look at the bright side: once you become part of the Blight family, you'll have access to resources you'd never have as the son of a Night Market dealer!"

Odalia stood in front of her fiance, spreading her arms and stopping him on his tracks.

"At least make an effort to feign happiness!"

Alador looked elsewhere... and he promptly flashed a wide, joyful smile.

"See?! Like that!" Odalia gently bumped Alador's shoulder. "You're an incredible actor, you know?"

But Alador didn't answer.

"Alador?"

Odalia turned to the direction Alador was watching, and she was stunned by who she saw: a Healing track with long, wavy grey hair and dark skin, whose eyes were completely closed.

And yet, what really caught her attention was who the student was.

"Wait a minute," Odalia's eyes widened as she casually walked to the Healing track student. "Hey, are you by any chance-"

"Back off, invader!"

Odalia jumped back when a certain Oracle track student appeared out of nowhere and tried to punch her.

It was Amirani, resembling an ordinary witch rather than the Pseudo-Abomination-like monstrosity that she was in the present.

"Ugh, Amirani," Odalia rolled her eyes in disgust. "Acting as a bodyguard yet again?"

"Of course I am!" Amirani pounded her chest, then saluted. "The Urodela family lives and dies to protect the Brae family! And you can bet I'm not gonna ley you touch the heiress to the Underworld with your disgust, Blight germs!"

"Oh come on, Amirani, don't be so childish," Odalia folded her arms and smirked. "I just wanted to verify if this really was the Persephone Brae I've heard so much about."

"Yes, she is," Amirani narrowed her eyes. "Now piss off before you piss me off!"

"Oh yeah? And what are you gonna do if I don't leave? Beat me up?"

"And leave you at Death's door!"

"Go ahead, just try it. And then I'll tell my family so they can buy the entire Underworld."

Amirani looked legitimately baffled at the statement. "You can't just buy the Boiling Underworld!"

"I'm a Blight! I can buy anything! Isn't that right, Alador?"

But once again, Alador was quiet. And a quick look around revealed why: he had walked to Persephone's side, the girl flashing a receptive smile as she faced him.

"Hi there, Persephone," Alador said, scratching the back of his head. "I heard you got transferred to the Healing track."

"Yup," Persephone did a little twirl, then curtsied. "I got my uniform today!"

"I noticed," Alador blushed. "It... looks great on you."

Persephone blushed in turn and lowered her head. "Thanks..."

And as the duo kept talking, Amirani smirked, and whispered to Odalia:

"Looks like even your fiance wants nothing to do with you. Maybe it's time to thrown in the towel, and let him decide who he wants to marry."

Amirani snickered maliciously as she went to separate the duo, but when left to her own devices, Odalia didn't blow up in rage or offense.

Instead, she scratched her chin while thinking about something... and eventually got an idea.

A terrible, horrible idea.


Back at the Boiling Underworld Car, the groups continued to fight for their right to wield Keyblades, with Phos locking blades with Lapis again, the latter looking visibly frustrated.

"This isn't right! You're nothing but an "error" in the eyes of the Infinity Train! You're a glorified historian! How could it be I haven't beaten and shattered you yet!?"

"Well, I had a good teacher for one!"

Phos overpowered Lapis and sent them flying towards the stomach acid sea...

But they quickly regained their balance, and landed safely on top of the acid, giggling smugly as they said:

"You fool! The Boiling Undine has the power over water! Even if this is a sea of stomach acid, it's still a sea!"

Lapis raised their arm, and a torrent of acid rose up.

"Now let me show you the true power of who you're dealing with!"

Phos tightened their grip on their sword. "Chris!"

"Y-Yeah?"

"Use the future to your advantage, and help me beat this wrench!"

The sentient crystal ball nodded and began seeing the future, all while Phos prepared to strike back against the incoming acidic attack.


Meanwhile, back with Chloe and Boa, the duo clashed repeatedly, each of their strikes sending small waves across the acidic sea before one more clash sent them flying back.

"This fight is totally unfair!" Chloe whined, flailing her arms up and down. "Even with only the armor set at our disposal, how hard could it be to take down this dumb entity!?"

"So it's fair when you not only steal my power, but reduce me to my base form to kill me," Boa narrowed her eyes. "But it's unfair when we both don armors to fight equally?"

"That's an entirely different situation!" Chloe yelled, pointing at Boa as she added. "I wouldn't have had to go that far if you didn't decide to blow up the dang Train!"

"And who's fault do you think it is that I went over the edge, Koharu Sakuragi?"

Chloe froze in place, with Atticus running to the edge of the meaty floor to witness the scene.

"Oh no..."

"What..." Chloe clenched her fist. "Did you call me?"

"Koharu Sakuragi," Boa folded her arms. "Isn't that your name?"

A pink, fiery aura enveloped Chloe, whose eyes glowed pink as she hissed:

"Don't you dare call me that..."

"What? Koharu?"

The aura intensified, and Chloe flew towards Boa, yelling:

"DON'T YOU DARE CALL ME THAT!"

Chloe threw a fiery punch at Boa, who flew to the side, before the fiery aura burst and Chloe aimed her marked palm at her, sending the aura to Boa, causing a pink, fiery explosion.

Only a few seconds passed before Boa came out of the explosion unscathed, and kicked Chloe straight to the meaty floor, sending her crashing into a bony protrusion.

"Chloe!" Atticus exclaimed, taking a few steps towards her with worry.

"Don't you dare get close, Atticus!"

The corgi king stopped on his tracks, just in time for Boa to fly down and chide her:

"You needed to use a lot of effort to take me down before, why not lower the effort by having your teammates help you?"

"Shut up! Don't tell me what to do!" Chloe spat. "I beat you by myself before! I can do it again!"

Boa sighed in exasperation, and walked towards the Red Lotus girl, ready to give her a reality check.


Meanwhile, with Zenith Fantasy, the kids grabbed Hazel Hughes' hand and dragged her with them in look for an exit, leaving Simon and Grace behind to deal with Hazel.

"Are you sure your parents will be fine?" Hazel Hughes asked worriedly.

"They're not our parents!" Lindsay yelled, visibly blushing.

"They can take care of themselves!" Alex added. "For now, we need to find an exit out of this place and take you to safety!"

Hearing that, the Hazel lookalike looked back at the fight between Hazel and the leaders.

Simon and Grace shot black and white energy blasts at Hazel, who giggled while jumping all over the place, each of the blasts narrowly missing her.

"You can't hit me~! You can't hit me~! Come on, are you even trying?!"

"Oh shut up, will you!?" Simon snapped. "Stand still so we can hit you!"

"Hmm, yeah, I don't think so," Hazel smirked. "I think I'm gonna put an end to this right here, right now!"

Simon and Grace grimaced, and went back to back as Hazel exclaimed:

"Time to cause an Uproar!"

The paralyzing feeling from before struck the leaders, but they at least managed to charge and shot a combined, monochromatic energy blast as Hazel summoned a staff, and transformed it... into one of those creepy cymbal monkey toy.

"Haha, nice!" Hazel gripped the toy and aimed it. "I can't wait to see your faces when a monkey toy proves to be your-"

And then the combined energy blast Hazel, causing her to wince and drop the monkey... which bounced off the platform and down towards the acidic sea...

And fell right in with a tiny splash.

"Huh," Hazel tilted her head. "You know, given how small it was, I don't know what I was expecting-"

And then, the entire Car began glitching out, with the Denizens outside of Chris and Boa glitching out as well, howling in agony as they did.

"AAAAAAAH!" Hazel screamed, her form glitching while electricity surged through her body. "IT HURTS! IT HURTS!"

Simon and Grace, meanwhile, exchanged looks as they realized something.

"She's a Denizen..."

Meanwhile, back on the ground, Phos slowly, painstakingly stood up, using Antarcticite's sword as support as lighting and electricity surged through their body, with Lapis laying on the ground in pure agony.

Phos caught their breath while walking towards the downed Gem, who managed to gather enough strength to turn, and see Phos standing above them.

"How... can you walk!? You're... a Denizen! You're... nothing!"

Phos grabbed Lapis' neck and lifted then, gritting their teeth despite the increased electricity, and stated:

"I... have a name... and it's..."

Phos reeled back, and threw Lapis to the glitched sea.

"PHOSPHOPHYLLITE!"

Once the armored Gem hit the sea, they screamed as their code glitched out even further, culminating in their being melting into the glitched sea, their screams of pain eventually ceasing to be soon after.

Phos dropped to the ground soon after, Chris beginning to look everywhere for the source of the glitches...

And speaking of which, Hazel wobbled back and forth as she reached for the circlet, and tried to remove it.

"IT HURTS! TAKE IT OFF! TAKE THIS CURSED THING OFF!"

Once Hazel had finally removed the circlet from her head, the cymbal monkey ceased to exist, and with it the Car's glitched episode. Hazel's form was covered in light briefly before morphing back to normal, the girl herself dropping to her knees as the circlet slid and landed in front of Grace's feet.

Hazel raised her head, visibly tearing up as she forced herself to crawl towards the object... only for Grace to throw it off the edge.

"NO!"

Hazel materialized her dragonfly wings again and dived straight for the circle, successfully snatching it before it got consumed by the acidic sea.

Hazel hugged the circlet close to her chest, looked at Zenith Fantasy with a look of pure, furious disdain, and flew off, leaving the Car soon after.

"Uh, your welcome!" Grace exclaimed.

"Don't bother, Grace. She's not worth it," Simon stated. "Come on, let's check up on the kids."

The woman hesitantly nodded, and they quickly ran to the kids, who were on the ground, just now getting up.

"Are you guys okay?"

"Yeah, we're fine," Todd said, rubbing his eyes before shaking his head. "But that color shower really hurt my eyes."

"W-What about my doppleganger?" Hazel Hughes asked fearfully. "Is she still here?!"

Grace shook her head. "She left as soon as the Car turned back to normal."

Hazel Hughes took a deep sigh of relief and put a hand on her chest. "I'm glad..."

"Anyway, this place definitely isn't safe," Lucy stated. "We should go-"

"GAAAAAAH!"

*CRASH!*

Zenith Fantasy and the girl went to the edge of the structure, and looked down at the platform, where a dust cloud formed a few feet away from Boa, who flew down as the smoke dispersed to reveal Chloe on the spot, using all her strength to stand back up as Boa landed safely.

"Why..."

Chloe gritted her teeth as she hissed:

"Why can't I beat you... why can't I even scratch you... why can't I do anything right!?"

Boa remained silent, looking sternly at Chloe as she continued:

"This is supposed to be the part where I earn my Keyblade! The part where I prove myself worthy! The part where I prove I don't have to be what everybody else tells me to be!"

"Why do you care?"

Chloe flinched as Boa narrowed her eyes, and sharpened her glare.

"Why do you care what "everybody else" back in your homeworld thinks about you? Why do you care to prove yourself to them?"

Chloe blinked twice and shook her head. "B-Because they wouldn't leave me alone!"

Boa tilted her head. "Are these people bullies, Chloe?"

"Yes! To the highest degree!"

"Then you're fighting a losing battle."

Chloe winced again, flinching as Boa began walking towards her.

"Let me tell you the truth about bullies, Chloe: No matter who they are, what they are, or where they come from, they all share the same traits. They don't care what their victims think, or what they do with their lives, or even if they try to please them. All they care about, is hurting them. Demeaning them. Making them feel inferior, so they in turn make themselves seem superior."

"Don't take another step!" Chloe snapped, aiming her palm at the Nobody. "I got a couple of summons available, and I'm not afraid to use them!"

Boa sighed and stopped, rubbing her forehead as she asked:

"Why are you so eager to reject help, Chloe?"

"I'm just not letting myself fall into the same traps as before!" Chloe snapped, her arm shaking. "I absolutely won't fall for false help ever again!"

"And what do you define as false help?"

"You already saw my memories! My classmates... they didn't do anything to help me!"

Boa shook her head. "All I saw was you beating up one of your classmates, getting sent to the principal's office, then throw their suggestion to get therapy to the trashcan before ditching school."

"Oh come on, Yeardley totally had it coming!" Chloe stated, shedding tears as she added. "If he had just stood up and talked to me... if he hadn't forgotten about the dumb Safari Zone trip... if he had treated me like a decent human being, none of this would've happened!"

"So, it's always someone else's fault?" Boa glared. "And you're never in the wrong?"

"...Yes!"

"Well let me tell you something, Chloe of the Vermillion: I used to think the exact same thing," Boa spread her arms. "And look at me now. My soul's been split into for Denizens, one who must be killed even, in order to try make me into a normal Passenger. Not succeed in doing so, just try. And this very same fate could befall you if you don't change this attitude of yours."

Chloe scoffed. "Don't make me laugh! I'm nowhere near the maniac you are!"

"But you're a Static Passenger, just like me," Boa folded her arms. "And it doesn't matter where you came from, what you do, or what you think. If you don't deal with your static nature yourself, then your only other option will have to be the Heart System."

Hearing that, Chloe sighed and looked at her number, which kept glitching slightly as Boa added:

"But do you know what's the biggest difference between you and me, Chloe? And what makes it so infuriating you refuse the help?"

"What?"

"That people actually want to help you."

Chloe's eyes widened, and Boa explained:

"I'm gonna be blunt: I was a pretty big bully back in the Boiling Isles. No matter who it was, I always demeaned or humilliated them, all while twisting the knife whenever I could. And thanks to that, not only will nobody want to raise a finger to try and help me, or feel concerned that I'm gone, but the one friend I had back there, Skara, is going to be used as a stress relieving toy as proxy for all the pain I caused."

Chloe frowned sympathetically... then shook her head and spat, "Well, maybe if you actually thought about the consequences of your actions, or you didn't ask like an utter jerk, your friend wouldn't have to pick up the slack!"

Even Atticus couldn't help but facepalm at the statement.

"As I was saying, there are so many people who want to help you, Chloe. More than I'll ever get..." Boa lowered her head. "Or deserve..."

Phos frowned sympathetically at Boa, who shook her head and raised it, stating:

"But they can only help you if you let them help you."

Chloe calmed down a bit, then faced Lexi and Atticus before approaching them.

"Guys, I..." Chloe took a deep breath and faced Lexi. "I'm sorry I didn't listen to you when you offered to tell me who Mahamayuri was. I really should've heard what you had to say."

"It's okay," Lexi smiled. "Once we're done with this Car, I'm totally gonna tell you everything about her."

"Got it," Chloe nodded, then crouched down to Atticus' height. "And Atticus, I'm sorry for... actually, I don't think I ever wronged you?"

"Well, you did ditch Peacock's training when I told you to stay."

Chloe took a deep breath. "Fine, once we're done here, and until we're needed again, I'm gonna focus on my training with Peacock."

"And you'll give me belly rubs?"

Chloe crouched down, and petted Atticus' head. "You'll get all the belly rubs you want."

Atticus smiled, and with that out of the way, he and Lexi stood by Chloe's side as they all looked at Boa, who flashed a smile of approval.

"Alright, we can't win an extended fight, but maybe we can deal with her quickly with the kamehameha," Lexi spoke. "Chloe, use the Mahamayuri Train to power us up! That should power up the attack enough to take her out!"

Chloe smiled sheepishly. "I would... but the weapon doesn't have any energy."

"... What?"

"I can't use the Mahamayuri Train's powers without charging it up. I need to take some energy, and I don't think Boa will let us do it-"

"Then take some of our own."

The Red Lotus Trio and Boa looked up, seeing Zenith Fantasy raise their arms as energy spheres left them, and flew to the Mahamayuri Train.

"I thought you had already left!" Lexi growled.

"We were planning to do that when we heard things going down below, and we decided to wait and check it out," Simon explained. "And besides, we're supposed to work together for this stunt, remember? Figured this was the least we could do."

The Mahamayuri Train's gems began to light up as Chloe smiled and nodded. "Thanks!"

Zenith Fantasy bid farewell, and they and Hazy ran out of the Car to safety.

This left the Red Lotus Trio as they bathed in the Pink aura of the Mahamayuri Train, their forma changing soon after: Chloe became "Chloe of the Pink Hair Dye" once more, Atticus grew larger and more closely resembled Boltund, Yamper's evolution back at Chloe's homeworld.

As for Lexi, his body grew into that of a young man with spiky grey hair, and green highlights with Golden eyes. Alongside white clothing, he also gained a blue coat.

Once their transformation was complete, a pink aura surrounded the Trio as they levitated while glaring at Boa, who returned the glare, but with a bemused smile.

"Lexi! Atticus!" Chloe exclaimed as she clenched her fists and pulled them back. "We need to attack her all at once if we want to win!"

"No need to tell me twice!" Lexi stated. "All together now!"

The trio raised their arms.

"Ka... Me...!"

Then they lowered them and pulled them back, spheres of energy forming on their palms.

"Ha... Me...!"

Boa imitated the gestures, then pulled back, a sphere of Yellow energy forming on her palms as Chloe's eyes widened.

She's imitating us?!

Then she shook it off.

No, don't lose focus! You only got one shot at this!

"Ha!"

Both groups pulled their hands forward and a pair of energy beams, one Pink and one Yellow, emerged and clashed evenly.

Boa remained fairly even with a cocky smile, while the Red Lotus Trio focused as hard as they could not to get overpowered.

The entire Car began to shake, and Zenith Fantasy quickly escaped, leaving the Red Lotus and Ruby Sulphur Trios to duke it out.

Well, Boa and the Red Lotus Trio, Chris and Phos just stood awkwardly at the sidelines.

"Oh, there's gotta be something we can do!" the sentient crystal ball cried, floating back and forth in a panic. "If only we could distract Boa somehow and help the Red Lotus Trio overpower her!"

Then, he stopped and gasped. "I'm actually wondering how to help someone attack the Passenger I'm supposed to protect, that... that doesn't sound right..."

Phos, meanwhile, remained calm as they stood up and gripped their sword, their eyes focused solely on Boa.

Then, they dashed forward.

"Phos! What are you doing?!"

The Gem-based Denizen jumped up and swung their blade down, prompting Boa to use one arm to block the attack...

And taking her focus away long enough for the Red Lotus Trio to power up further: their beam promptly engulfed Boa's beam, and before long, Phos jumped away as a smiling Boa got engulfed by the beam...


Once out of the Boiling Underworld Car, Zenith Fantasy took a moment to catch their breath, while Hazy stood nearby, twiddling her fingers as she watched them.

"Alright... good job everyone," Grace sighed. "Man, that was intense!"

"And worst of all, we didn't even get to beat that Hazel!" Lindsay snapped, gritting her teeth as she added. "It would've been so much satisfying to wipe out that smug grin of hers!"

"And she also ran off, now with the knowledge that Hazy's coming with us," Alex added, Todd nodding as he added. "Before we did this, we might've had the chance to avoid fighting her, but now that Hazy's with us, she'll definitely try to kill us to the story."

"She was probably going to kill us anyway, but-" Grace paused, them looked at the boys. "Did you just call the girl "Hazy"?"

"Well, the girl that's stalking her's also called Hazel," Alex argued. "And since it might get a little confusing otherwise, we decided to make up a nickname for her."

"Guys, is she even okay with the idea?" Grace said, crouching down to their size. "You can't just give someone a nickname before consulting them first-"

"They asked me about it first, yes," Hazel Hughes answered. "And truth be told, I like the nickname they gave me. Hazel "Hazy" Hughes. It's got a nice ring to it, don't you think?"

"And it's alliterative!" Lucy chirped. "That's always a plus, right?"

"Hey!"

Zenith Fantasy turned around to see the Red Lotus Trio walk towards them, now back to their base forms.

"Chloe's got something to tell you!"

Simon and Grace exchanged looks, and Hazy hid behind the four kids as they prepared for a fight. But instead, Chloe just said:

"Um, what you did back there... thanks, for that."

"Oh, it's alright," Grace said, waving her hand while Simon pocketed his hands. "It's the least we could do."

"I agree, but still, it was rather... shocking," Chloe looked at Lexi. "After hearing so many terrible things about the Apex from Lexi, I never thought you'd go and do something nice for us."

The group shot a look at Lexi, who quickly avoided eye contact before approaching Hazy.

"Who is she?"

"She's Hazel Hughes, but we call her Hazy to not confuse her with the other one," Alex calmly explained. "Remember the Spelling Bee Car? She's the girl that weird idol nobody likes mentioned."

Lexi quickly scanned the girl, then nodded.

"Alright, I guess you can do good things every once in a while," Lexi stood up and walked back to Chloe. "Of course, I do wonder how she's gonna do without you-"

"I'm coming with them, actually."

Lexi stopped, and faced Hazy with wide-eyed disbelief.

"You what?!"

"I said, I'm gonna go with them," Hazy turned to Grace. "What's the group's name, again?"

Grace smiled. "Zenith Fantasy."

"Thanks," Hazy turned back to Lexi, sporting a serious expression. "I'm gonna go with Zenith Fantasy."

"Okay, clearly, the shock and horror of the this Car has messed with your brain," Lexi crouched down. "Listen up, kid: this group's a bunch of pariahs! If you go with them, the entire Train will start seeing as you being just as bad as them! Trust me, it's for the better that you leave them alone."

Hazy narrowed her eyes. "Don't I get a say in this?"

"Does that say involve anything other than you staying away from them for your own good?"

Hazy effectively gave up on Lexi at that point, quickly walking back to Zenith Fantasy's side and hugging Todd before blowing a raspberry at Lexi.

The paper humanoid barely got time to mumble something before Atticus stepped forward to Alex.

"You showed great bravery going into the stomach acid sea to rescue this girl, young man! I got to say I'm impressed!"

Alex scratched the back of his head. "It was a team effort, really."

"And everyone will be knighted at their due time," Atticus answered, briefly scanning the whole group to Lexi's disbelief. "But for now, I'd like to knight you, young warrior."

Alex gasped.

"Or at least, knight you when we get to Corginia. I only have jurisdiction to do that there."

"Oh, okay."

"It's nice to see you're all okay."

Everybody winced and turned around to see the Ruby Sulphur Trio walking towards: one composed of Chris, Phos, and Boa.

"I thought our kamehameha knocked you out!" Chloe exclaimed.

"Yeah, it did... for about a few minutes, tops," Boa pocketed her hands. "Boscha herself was next to impossible to knock down, don't be surprised that I'm just as tough as she was."

"Which, by proxy, means the rest of the Boschazens are just as tough..." Simon grimaced. "Including the True Apex..."

"You'll cross that bridge when you get there."

Everybody looked up, and saw, to their surprise, the Master of Masters sitting on top of the Car, arms folded behind his head in a rather carefree manner.

"Okay, so first we see the Red Lotus Trio, then Boa, Phosphophyllite, and the crystal thing, and now the Master of Masters?" Simon growled in exasperation. "Who's next? One-One?!"

Everybody waited for a few seconds to see if One-One would come out of nowhere next. After said seconds passed and nothing happened, Simon breathed a sigh of relief, uttering "thank you" before he and everybody else got something from the Master of Masters.

An invitation letter with a bee theme.

"Uh, what are these invitations for?" Chloe asked.

"They're invitations for the Cupid Bee Car," the Master of Masters calmly answered. "A big ball will be held there in a few days, and it's imperative that you go there."

"Why?"

The Master of Masters jumped down, and looked at Chloe straight in the eye as he revealed:

"Because that's where The Innocence is located."

Chapter Text

2000+ hits! Woohoo!

Alright guys, here it is. The Big one. The part of Act 2 that will make or break this story, for now, and have everyone's jaw drop in collective shock.

And I don't know what's worse: the fact we're seeing such a shocking chapter this early, or the fact it's just the first one.

Now, before you go any further, I'm gonna issue a trigger warning. The contents of this chapter are... intense, to say the least. Sure, nothing graphic will be shown, but leaving things to the imagination can sometimes be much more horrifying than showing them point blank.

Finally, if you need to take a break from this story after this chapter, I completely understand. I can't guarantee that things won't get worse from here, at least

One more thing: get ready to completely hate several characters.

Because if there's one thing I can assure this chapter will do, is that it'll put the whole Amity-Boscha-Skara drama in a whole new light.

Whether that's for better or for worse... you decide.

I've stalled long enough. Let's... go...


Skara followed Prometheus down a long staircase, eventually leading the former into the Urodela's mansion's dungeons. And as they walked, Skara kept a neutral expression as they headed towards the final dungeon cell, which more closely resembled a heavily fortified bedroom than a dungeon cell, especially with the decorations and furniture... including a door that lead deeper inside.

On top of the sole bed rested a dark-skinned woman, sporting a blue tunic that covered her body, and hair as white as snow.

"Persephone," Prometheus stated as he opened the cell door. "Skara has returned."

The winged witch walked inside, and approached the woman as she slowly opened her eyes, revealing black sclera and navy blue eyes, which gained a lively shine once Skara reached her.

"Could you leave us alone, Prometheus?" Persephone requested with a calm, serene voice.

The masked man nodded, and closed the "cell" door. He walked away as soon as Skara hopped on the bed, and grabbed Persephone's hand, rubbing it as she said:

"I'm sorry if I made you worry... Mom."


Back at the Boiling Isles, Amity was dropped on the ground, rolling a bit before she crashed on something hard.

The girl jumped back upon seeing what it was: a tombstone with a name that had only one part of it visible:

Blight.

"Where... What is this?"

Amity stood up, and to her horror, a simple look around the place revealed several similar tombstones planted around the place each beating the last name "Blight".

"Where are we!?"

"Calm down, will you?" Amirani growled. "The only reason you're not forming part of these tombstones is because I'm in a good mood. That, and you can't quite get the same lesson if you're dead."

"Lesson?" Amity frowned. "What lesson?!"

"The lesson of what happens when you get too cocky," Amirani smirked. "Your family failed to learn this lesson until it was too late. And look at them now: stuck underground, unable to fully form into Wights."

Amity looked back at the tombstones, then back away a bit before she turned to Amirani and snapped:

"If you have something to tell me, just say it already!"

Amirani snickered. "You don't get it, do you? You're no longer in a position of power. You were never in a position of power to begin with! You're nothing but an extension of me now! In fact, the only reason you can even speak right now, is because I'm letting you talk!"

"What are you-!?"

But then, Amity's mouth stopped, Amirani gaining a smirk as Amity's anger was replaced with fear. She closed her mouth, shivering as Amirani lowered her eyelids, and raised her arm...

Which Amity imitated soon after, without her even realizing it. Then Amirani reached for her finger, with Amity shaking as she was forced to repeat it...

*CRACK!*

"AAAAAAH!"

Amity dropped to the ground while clutching her hand... for about a second before Amirani made her grab her broken finger and drop it, with it landing next to Amirani's own severed finger. Then, she looked up to see Amirani show her four-fingered hand before she regenerated the broken finger...

Which wasn't replicated by Amity.

"Do you understand now, Amity?" Amirani cracked her knuckles. "I can control you however I want, whenever I want, so if you don't want me to put you through a physical hell, you better adopt a nicer tone of voice when talking to me. Am I clear?"

Amity nodded desperately, tears forming on the edges of her eyes as Amirani grinned:

"Good. Now, let's talk a little history..."


Elsewhere, at the Blight Mansion, Lilith and Eda barged into the Blight Mansion, only to find the Blight parents sitting down on the couch, Luz and the older Blight siblings looking at them before the duo's arrival caught their attention.

"Eda! You came!" Luz chirped, only to wince when she saw Lilith as well. "Oh, and you brought Lilith with you."

"Of course I brought her with me, why wouldn't I?" Eda replied. "Amity's her student, remember?"

Luz scratched her head uneasily. "Right... a-anyway, Amity just got kidnapped by Amirani. Did you see her on the way here?"

"I assure you, if we had seen her, I'd have taken Amity back from that woman's hands... or at least tried to," Lilith raised an eyebrow. "More importantly, though, why would Amirani kidnap Amity?"

Luz narrowed her eyes and turned back to the Blight parents, hissing:

"Eda and Lilith are here. No more stalling: talk. Now."

Alador took a deep breath, and promptly spoke:

"Back when we were younger, Odalia and I were arranged to marry once we reached 18. It was an arrangement meant to try help the Blights gain connections to the Boiling Underworld, and also..." he lowered his head regretfully. "Keep a scandal under wraps."

Luz raised an eyebrow. "What scandal?"

"Truth be told, the person who sold me the... scroll containing the Owlbeast curse..."

"They were my family, weren't they?" Alador asked worriedly.

Lilith didn't answer, but her expression did the job for her. Alador could only frown, knowing anything he said now would be seen as too little, too late.

"Though, truth be told, that's not the scandal I'm talking about," Alador faced Odalia. "I'm talking about another, much more damaging scandal."

The woman looked elsewhere, keeping her mouth shut even as everybody else looked at her, hoping she'd spill the beans eventually.

Which she did, gritting her teeth and snapping:

"Alright, fine! I'll tell you what happened! Just stop looking at me!"

She took a deep breath, and once she felt ready, spoke the truth:

"Now, for starters, Alador's got a few things wrong: the scandal he's talking about didn't happen before we were married. It did a little bit after, shortly after Emira and Edric were born-"

"Mom, please stop stalling," Edric sighed as Emira added. "Tell us what's the scandal already!"

"It became very clear to me that Alador liked Persephone, the heiress of the Underworld, much more than he ever loved me-"

Alador rolled his eyes. "I wasn't that obvious-"

"Honey, you were drooling over her ever since the school year started: if Amity got my wits and talent, she got your lack of subtlety. Anyway, as I was saying, I decided to try kill two birds with one spell..."


A younger Odalia leaned against a tree at the frontyard of a building, one arm behind her back while the other was pocketed.

Eventually, she saw just the girl she was looking for: Persephone.

"Hello there, Persephone-!"

"Don't talk to me, Odalia."

The Blight narrowed her eyes, and quickly got on Persephone's way.

"Come on, Persephone, don't be like that," she said, trying to maintain a friendly tone. "I was just hoping we could share a little dialogue, you know? Try to get to know each other a little better!"

"I've heard from you from everybody else, and I'm not risking something bad happening by paying attention to you," Persephone stated, walking past Odalia as she added. "And besides, what could there possibly be to talk about with you?"

"How about the fact that Alador loves you?"

Persephone stopped for a moment, then sighed:

"You already have a pair of kids with him, is this really appropriate to discuss?"

"Oh trust me, he loves Emira and Edric as much as I do. But when it comes to romantic love, he has next to none for me," Odalia put a hand on her cheek. "And with his lack of subtlety, it's as clear as day that he'd rather spend his days with you."

"And yet, he's chained to you thanks to your arranged marriage," Persephone narrowed her eyes. "What do you want me to do?"

Odalia walked to Persephone's side, and wrapped her arm around her shoulder, sending a shiver down Persephone's spine.

"It's very simple, really: why don't you become Alador's second wife?"

Persephone smacked Odalia with her fist and began walking away, hissing:

"This conversation's over, Odalia."

The Blight woman wiped the blood off her nose and reached for her back.

"That's what you think!"

Odalia ran to Persephone, tackled her, and took out a potion from her back, opening it with her thumbs as Persephone yelled:

"What is that?!"

"A knock out potion!"

Odalia dumped the potion's liquid down Persephone's throat, the Underworld heiress trying to break free as she felt herself losing strength.

Until eventually, she dropped unconscious.

"There, now that that's dealt with," Odalia sighed and lifted Persephone. "Time to get moving..."


"W-Wait, my Mom wanted Persephone to become Dad's second wife?" Amity scratched her head. "Is that really possible?"

"Why not?" Amirani folded her arms and rolled her eyes. "The Blight family are already willing to cross so many lines to get what they want. I wouldn't be surprised if they began getting harems just to use them for power."

"Crossing lines?" Amity grimaced. "What are you talking about?"

Amirani flashed a sadistic grin, twiddling her fingers as she added:

"Ohoho, where do I begin? Well, you see, after knocking out Persephone, Odalia had a very... interesting idea on how to kill two birds with one spell..."


"Odalia, Emira and Edric need to be kept under constant watch; can't whatever you need from me wait?"

"Absolutely not, you have to come see it now," Odalia smiled. "Besides, trust me: this is something that'll make both of us happy."

Hearing Odalia's casual tone, Alador got a bad feeling and ran past Odalia onto a partially open room, the woman smirking as Alador nearly screamed by what he saw inside.

Persephone was tied up with magic ropes, her hands kept inside magical gauntlets to prevent her from casting magic to free herself. She also had a blindfold over her eyes, and something mythical from the Human world called "duct tape" over her mouth, the witch trying to break free from her restraints as Alador snapped:

"Odalia... what the hell is this!?"

"This, Alador, is a compromise," Odalia bluntly stated, entering the room with her arms folded behind her back. "If you won't stop moping about the fact you couldn't have a family with the girl you actually liked, then I have no choice but to pick up the slack."

"What are you talking about!?" Alador pointed at Persephone. "How is this a compromise!?"

"Ugh, I know it's hard for you, Alador, but connect the dots!" Odalia flashed a teasing smile. "You wanted to have a family with Persephone, right? Well, now's your chance to get what you want."

It took Alador a few minutes to connect the dots, as Odalia said, and once he did, he wasted no time giving her a bitch slap that brought her to the ground.

"No! I refuse to do that! I know you might think I got no standards because I'm from the Boiling Underworld, but I'm not going to stoop this low for something you want!"

Odalia rubbed her cheek and sighed as her husband began to walk away.

"I figured you'd say that."

Odalia snapped her fingers, and Alador stopped, his expression turning wide and unblinking as a familiar eye symbol appeared on his forehead.

The same symbol once shown before by Skara and Amity.

"What... is this?!"

"Isn't it obvious? It's Mind Magic, one of the taboo types of magic," Odalia answered as she stood up, and her husband walked towards the tied Persephone. "I had a feeling you wouldn't cooperate, so I took precautions to ensure you wouldn't let this golden opportunity go to waste."

"Odalia... you'd dare go this far!?"

"Of course I would: I mean, we've been married for several years now. If you didn't get the answer by now, that's your problem, not mine," Odalia smiled as she walked out the room and grabbed the doorknob. "Now, I'm gonna close this door, and once you're both alone... well, I think you know what I'm trying to say here, don't you?"

Odalia slowly closed the door, willingly ignorant of the horrifying scene about to unfold...


And in the present, Lilith grabbed Odalia by the neck and pinned her on the ground, a furious expression on her face while aiming her staff right at Odalia's eyes.

"You horrible, disgusting waste of a witch! You seriously went that far!?"

"Hmph, that's rich coming from the same witch who cursed her sister to a lifetime as a mindless Owlbeast," Odalia scoffed. "Do you really think you have the moral high ground here, Lilith?"

"This isn't about who has the higher moral ground!" Lilith snapped, leaning back with a stern expression. "This is about the fact that your stupid desire for power caused all this mess!"

"I simply did my duty as a Blight: try my hardest to gain power and connections for the family," Odalia stated as she stood up. "I mean, let's be honest here, if you could gain connections with the Boiling Underworld, and the rulers of said place to boot, wouldn't you do anything in your power to gain?"

"BUT RAPE!?"

Lilith's furious shout echoed across the hallways, sending shivers down the younger Blights and Luz, while Eda looked worried that her sister was about to blow up.

"If it helps, though I doubt it will, we didn't get away with it," Alador sadly confessed before looking at Luz. "Have you ever noticed, Human, that there's no mention of there being other Blights on the Boiling Isles?"

Luz simply nodded.

"That's because there are no other Blights. Me, my wife, and our children are the only members of the Blight family left."


"W-What are you talking about!?" Amity asked, shedding tears as she crawled away from the abominable woman. "What do you mean we're the only Blights left?!"

"Look around you, Amity! You're surrounded by the tombstones of your family!" Amirani exclaimed. "I mean, seriously, they all have the same family name of "Blight"! How much more obvious does it need to be?!"

Amirani stomped to Amity and crouched down, forcing the Blight to look at her as she hissed:

"Let me make it so obvious you can't deny it, then! It all started sometime after your mother did her boneheaded move..."


At the Boiling Underworld, Amirani, donning the Boiling Salamander armor, stood sentry at the gates of what would become the Urodela Mansion, and as she scanned her surroundings, a shocking sight quickly caught her attention.

A woman with dark skin, covered in white robes, walked towards the mansion weakly while Warden Wrath, donning the Boiling Gnome armor, helped her walk.

Amirani gasped, but stopped herself from calling Persephone's name before she ran up to the robed woman, and helped her enter the mansion.

Once inside, the two helped the woman sit down on the throne, at which point she took off her hood. This revealed that parts of her once-grey hair were turning snow white, with the color spreading as she shivered and breathed heavily.

"Wrath, what happened?!" Amirani exclaimed.

"I'm not entirely sure what went down, but apparently, Odalia found Alador... having his way with Persephone," Wrath faced Persephone, who gasped and looked away. "When I arrived, she was on the bed, trembling and mumbling words-"

"Odalia found them? Come on, Wrath, you and I know better than anybody that a Blight never finds anything!" Amirani looked elsewhere and clenched her fists. "It's more likely that she set it up herself in order to try get some leverage out of the whole ordeal! That disgusting piece of-"

"Amirani, please lower your voice."

It was then that Prometheus entered the room, donning a labcoat over his usual black cloak.

"You're scaring Her Highness."

"Em all..."

Everybody turned to Persephone, who clenched her fists as her shaking gained a primal rage to it.

"Kill... them all..."

"Kill them all? You mean the Blights?" Amirani asked, smirking when she got a nod in response. "Well, it was about time we spoke the same language-"

"Your Highness, if I may make a suggestion," Prometheus blurted. "Why don't I go deal with the Blights?"

Amirani raised an eyebrow.

"You're in no condition to be left alone, and since my wife holds the strongest power of the Boiling Elementals, the Salamander, it would be for the best that she stays by your side. Meanwhile, I've devised a little something that will give the Blights a taste of their own medicine. And I assure you-"

"Do it."

Everyone turned back to Persephone once more, now flashing a furious glare as she yelled:

"I don't care what you do, what you say, or what you're planning! I just want the Blights out of this accursed realm! I want all of them gone! Dead! Exterminated! I don't care! Just kill them all and erase any and all evidence they ever existed!"


"You really gave that order?"

Persephone lowered her head and took a deep breath, avoiding eye contact with her daughter as she answered:

"I was still reeling from what Odalia forced Alador to do to me. I couldn't think straight: all I wanted was for Odalia to leave me alone. I thought that if I didn't make a fuzz over her and Alador's family, she wouldn't bother me again. But alas, she proved me wrong, and I felt like I needed to do something, anything, that would make it so she'd never hurt me again. That the only way for it to stop was to take drastic measures."

Then, Skara remembered something, and asked hesitantly:

"And was Warden Wrath adopting me one of those drastic measures?"

Persephone took a deep breath and frowned, which Skara returned as the woman explained:

"Yes, I'm afraid so," Persephone put a hand on her stomach. "The pain, the trauma, the fear, the paranoia... all of those things were overwhelming me back then. I couldn't... raise you like I wanted."

Persephone shed tears and whimpered, her daughter hugging her arm in sympathy.

"And when you were born... you were so small, a-and frail, a-and... and quiet... I feared you... you-"

"Let's... not focus on that right now," Skara gulped, wiping some sweat off her brow. "Back to Warden Wrath... did you mean for him to adopt me?"

Persephone wiped off her tears and took a deep breath.

"I figured it would come to this."

Persephone grabbed Skara's chin, and lifted her head, hesitating as she leaned her index finger towards her forehead.

Once she touched it, the eye symbol from before reappeared... and shattered, Persephone taking her finger back as Skara's eyes glowed white and a memory played...


"No! NO! A THOUSAND TIMES NO!"

A younger Skara, donning the white robes the "Nothing" wore but looking healthier than ever, shivered in the corner, clutching her stomach as Persephone spoke with Warden Wrath.

"Persephone, I understand your plight, I really do. But even you have to admit that the Boiling Underworld isn't a place where Skara can live in peace."

"But the Blights are in the Boiling Isles! And you know the lengths they're willing to take to destroy someone!" Persephone bit her finger, visibly shivering. "If they find Skara, who knows what they'll do to her!"

"She'll be safe with me, Persephone," Warden Wrath nodded and pounded his chest. "I promise."

Persephone's shivering stopped... then she sat down.

"Wrath... I can't take false hopes anymore... so please... don't get my hopes up-"

"I assure you that Skara will be safe with me," Warden Wrath stated. "No matter what happens, I'll protect her, support her, and be by her side when she needs me. I know words mean nothing in the Boiling Underworld, but I assure you I'll do my best to-"

"Stop. Just stop."

Warden Wrath stopped talking right then and there, straightening his posture as he waited for her response.

Persephone rubbed her forehead for a while, ruffling her hair as she looked around the room and breathed heavily, until eventually... she said:

"I don't want you to ever return. Neither of you. Don't ever mention me to anybody else. And if they ask, feign ignorance. No matter what happens, if people find out Skara's connected to me... to the Brae family-"

"I'll keep quiet, don't worry," Warden Wrath scratched his chin. "But I don't know about the Blights."

"They'll keep quiet," Persephone blurted in a monotone voice. "I already made sure of that."

"I... I see..." Warden Wrath gulped. "But there's still one last loose end."

The adults faced Skara, who shivered and stood up, clasping her hands as she leaned against the wall.

Persephone turned back to Warden Wrath, but he didn't nod or shake his head. He just lowered it in sad acceptance.

Persephone stood up, and slowly walked to Skara, who began to calm down as the woman reached her and crouched down.

"Is something wrong, Mom?"

Persephone bit her lips, drawing blood as she held back tears, and then, she poked Skara's forehead and said something in an unknown language.

The third eye symbol appeared on Skara's forehead, the girl whimpering with a worried expression:

"M-Mom-"

"You're not... my daughter. And I'm not... your mother."

Persephone leaned back as the symbol glowed, Skara grabbing the sides of her head in pain.

"You're Skara Brae, daughter of Warden Wrath. A girl from the Boiling Underworld, born a Nothing... who overcame their morbid fate. Who demonstrated that she wasn't gonna lie down and vanish from this world. You've conquered the Boiling Underworld... and now, you're going to live at the Boiling Isles... no matter what."

With that said, Skara opened her eyes, sporting the same white glow as the spell finalized...


Once Skara returned to reality, tears fell down her cheeks as she asked her mother, with a pained expression:

"Mom... why?"

"I wanted you to start anew. Not as the daughter of a violated queen, but of a warden who kept order in a chaotic world. So I used Mind Magic to make you forget who I was. Because if something happened and people found out you were my daughter..."

Skara rubbed her forehead and closed her eyes.

"Can we..." Skara sniffed and wiped her tears. "Can we go back to the order you gave Prometheus?"

Understanding her daughter's pain, Persephone nodded and meekly said "sure."

"What..." Skara took a deep breath. "What happened after that?"

"Prometheus did what he does best," Persephone sighed. "He fulfilled the mission... exactly as I asked..."


"It's official!" Odalia chirped as she entered the living room. "I already went to see the doctor, and did the ultraviolet light! We're gonna have a daughter! Furthermore, my relatives came to our house to congratulate us!"

"That's... that's great news, Odalia," Alador sighed wearily while playing with the baby Emira and Edric. "I'm very happy for you."

Odalia's joy was soon replaced with anger. "Ugh, it's been months since your little escapade with Persephone. You should've gotten over it by now!"

"Gotten over it?" Alador stood up and faced the woman. "You made me do something inexcusable! If word about this comes out-"

"No word will ever come out, Alador!" Odalia yelled. "Seriously, what will it take for you to get that through your thick skull?! Now get dressed, we're gonna go outside to see my family-"

"Yeah, I don't think you'll do that."

Odalia and Alador turned around, and to their shock, Prometheus leaned against the wall, his masked face checking a mythical object from the Human world known as... a wristwatch.

"Prometheus..." Alador grimaced.

"What the hell are you doing here!?" Odalia yelled, taking a step forward.

"Isn't it obvious? I've come to give you a deal," Prometheus snickered. "One that you better not reject, if you value your life."

Odalia narrowed her eyes, glaring sternly as Prometheus approached her.

"Persephone has been left with quite the heavy task thanks to your meddling. But this doesn't have to result in bloodshed. You just have to agree to do one simple thing: become a servant of Persephone."

Odalia's eyes widened. "What!?"

"You heard me right: become a servant of Persephone, and dedicate the rest of your life to serving the queen you wronged. Only then will she humor the idea of "forgiving" you."

"Dream on!" Odalia yelled. "I'm not going to throw away my pride just to help a two-bit Underworld bitch feel better about herself!"

Alador facepalmed, knowing just how much Odalia had fucked up with those words.

Prometheus shook his head, disappointed. "I guess trying to achieve peace with a Blight really a waste of time. Luckily, I came prepared."

Prometheus snapped his fingers, and purple ooze left his body before closing and sealing the doors, with the pained cries from outside prompting the parents to look through the windows...

And they soon wished they hadn't, because doing so showed them a pair of canine Abominations tearing down and killing Odalia's family outside, the splatters of blood failing to cover the horrible sight.


"We were unable to do anything but witness as my family was slowly but surely exterminated right in front of our eyes," Odalia sighed. "By the end of it, not only was there blood everywhere, but Prometheus grabbed the bodies and stole them! Didn't even let us give them a proper burial!"

Everyone stood agape: Emira tried hard to not let her lunch escape her stomach, Edric wrapped his arm around her, and the Clawthorne sisters could only stare at the Blights in disbelief, Lilith's anger at Odalia now being mixed with shock and horror.

Not pity, though. She had none to give her.

"There's something that's bugging me," Luz remarked, getting Alador's attention. "Who's the child that resulted from... you know?"

Alador turned to Odalia, who shook her head with an expression of disapproval. Then, as if to spite her, Alador narrowed his eyes and answered:

"It's Skara."


"No... No!" Amity ruffled her hair, pulling her legs close to her as she cried in despair. "Nonononono!"

"Yes, Amity, it is the truth!" Amirani grinned. "Skara! The same girl you belittled! That you mistreated! That you drove away from the Boiling Isles with great prejudice! She's your sister!"

Amity kept crawling back... until she hit something that didn't feel like a tombstone...

Because it was Prometheus, who took out a bag and put it over Amity's head, all while Amirani hissed:

"And now, it's time you see her again after all this time."

The Urodelas wasted no time bringing the Blight to the Boiling Underworld, then directly to their mansion until they reached the dungeons.

Amity trashed around, trying to break free from Amirani and Prometheus' grasp as she heard whimpers and cries for people desperate for freedom, leaving little to the imagination as to where she was being taken.

"Persephone, we've brought you a gift."

Amity heard a door open seconds before she was pushed forward.

"The child of the woman who wronged you for far too long."

Prometheus removed the bag on Amity's head, and quickly locked the door before Amity could escape. The Blight breathed heavily as she grabbed the bars and tried to break free, Amirani smirking as she and her husband began to walk away.

"Wait, you can't leave me here!"

"Oh, we sure can!" Amirani stated. "You're not getting out of this one so easily, Blight!"

"Actually, Amirani," Prometheus turned to Amity. "Perhaps she's right."

Amity smiled... for about a second before Prometheus took out a harmonica and threw it at her.

"There! No imprisonment is ever complete without a harmonica! Now, if you excuse us..."

Amity groaned in frustration, before an eerie chill went down her spine. And once she turned around, she saw why.

Persephone was glaring daggers at her, all while Skara glanced worriedly at her mother, then Amity, and back again.

"H-Hello..." Amity nervously greeted, curtsying while shaking heavily. "Y-Your H-Highness..."

Chapter Text

And now, after the horror that was last chapter, we're gonna have a slightly calmer chapter here on the Infinity Train.

Don't get me wrong, we'll get some shocking moments, but it'll be nothing compared to the horror that was last chapter.

To start things of, I think now's as good a time as ever to clarify one thing about last chapter that must've been confusing.

As we all know, Persephone got raped by Alador thanks to Odalia's machinations, and yes, I die a little on the inside every time I bring that up, but it seems some people think Persephone's the mother of both Skara and Amity.

In reality, what I was trying to do with the timeline was to make it clear Skara's the "gap kid" between the older Blight twins and Amity: Edric and Emira are 16, Skara became 15 in "Understanding Willow", and Amity is 14. So, Edric and Emira are born first, a year into their life the rape happens, and a year after Skara's born, Odalia becomes pregnant with Amity, who is born when Skara is 1.

In short, Odalia's still the mother of all three Blight siblings in this story, rather than just being the mother of Edric and Emira.

I'm sorry for the confusion caused, and I hope this little explanation cleared things up a little.

Now if you excuse me, I must freak the fuck out for a moment, because WE GOT THE NEW SEASON TWO INTRO, AND CONFIRMATION ON WHEN IT'LL BEGIN! JUNE 12!

AND THERE WILL BE A THIRD SEASON TOO! LET'S GO!

But alas, where there's good, there's also bad, and apparently, the third season will be the show's last. I know, I'm stunned too, but don't fret. For this story might be over long before we get to season three.

And hey, once season two officially begins, we can count how many things this story got right, and how many it got wrong!

Psst, I think the latter list will be bigger. XD

On a side note, I've began rewriting Act 1 of this story. Fixing typos and all that I can find, but mostly adding stuff that I wanted to have in the first place but couldn't, or that helps give context to later bits. At this point, I should've finished rewriting bits of chapters 1 to... 7 or 8, and chapter 14, since for Chapter 13 I'll need to rewrite chapters 10 and 11 for things to make sense.

But I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

One of those changes was add a pair of voices to Boscha's head: they start and end with "~", and the one who's only italic represents Boscha's true feelings, while the bold italic one represents the social darwinism forced upon her.

As for Act 2... I'm quite happy with how it's going, to be honest, but for now, I'm gonna focus on Act 1. Next time I update this story, the rewrite should be more or less finished.

Finally, get ready to hate Amirani and Prometheus.

Anyway, I've blabbered long enough, and that's all I wanted to say. So let's head to the chapter!


The moon rose over the Boiling Isles, bathing the giant corpse island in a blue, ethereal light as, at the Blight Mansion, the door to a bedroom opened, followed by a string of tied bedsheets falling down.

"Alright, I think that's long enough," Emira stated. "Make sure the escape rope is tied tightly, Edric!"

"Is this really necessary, Emira?" Edric asked as he tied the rope as best as he could. "Do we really have to escape?"

"We can't stay here, Edric: Mom already used Dad as a tool, what if we're next? What if Amity's next?!" Emira waved her hand. "The faster we get out of here, the better!"

"But even if we leave, is there anywhere we could stay at until the situation with Mom calms down?"

Emira scratched her chin, humming in thought...


"How?"

Eda and Lilith turned to look at Luz, who plopped to her bed with a stern expression.

"How did someone like Amity end up part of such a... disgusting family? Of all people, why the Blights?!"

The Clawthorne sisters exchanged looks, and after a moment, Eda went to cook dinner, while Lilith approached Luz, who focused on the window as the elder Clawthorne sat next to her.

"I... wasn't aware you and Amity were going out."

"Why would you?" Luz growled. "What business do you have knowing personal stuff like that?"

"I'm just saying it's quite... unprecedented," Lilith folded her arms. "A human and a witch, dating together... and two girls to boot. Have either of you faced... issues, along the way because of it?"

"No, and again, it's none of your business to know."

Lilith closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Okay, kid, clearly there's something bothering you, because this is a tone of voice you'd never take with Edalyn."

"Of course I wouldn't, I trust Eda, unlike you," Luz sighed. "Besides, why do you care if I talk to you different from Eda?"

Lilith narrowed her eyes. "Because you've used the exact same tone ever since I found myself at this house over a month ago, and I'm starting to wonder how much longer are you gonna keep up with it."

"Well, maybe if you gave me a reason to trust you, I'd consider using a different tone of voice, but-"

"Luz! You got visits!"

The human girl quickly jumped up and ran to the living room, leaving a frustrated Lilith behind. For a moment, at least.

Once Luz and the Clawthorne sisters were at the door, they were surprised to see the Blight twins standing outside, Emira waving her hand worriedly while Edric hugged himself and shivered.

"Greetings, sorry if we interrupt," Emira clasped her hands. "But... well, we were hoping you could let us sleep with you tonight?"

"You want to sleep here?" Luz asked with a tilted head. "What gives?"

"After what Mom revealed, it just... doesn't feel safe being in the same house as her," Emira leaned forward. "It's just until Mom calms down and the whole deal is forgotten."

"That could take a while, you know?" Eda smiled. "Are you sure you'll be able to stand being here?"

"Edalyn, are you really going to let them in?" Lilith asked incredulously. "I mean, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near Odalia after today's revelation, but-"

"Ah, come on, sis, don't be like that. It's just a temporary deal! Besides," Eda shot a sneaky look at the twins. "I never said I'd let them stay here for free."

"We'll do whatever you want!" Edric cried. "Just please let us in!"

Eda and Luz moved aside, and the twins barged in, Edric running to the nearest source of heat possible.

"We assure you," Emira blurted, shaking hands with Eda. "You won't regret it."

"I'll be the one to judge that," Eda chuckled. "For now, why don't you follow Lily to your room?"

Lilith flinched. "Me?"

Eda nodded, and after a few seconds of hesitation, once the area was clear, she whispered to Luz:

"Kid, she's trying, you know?"

Luz folded her arms. "Well, maybe she's not trying hard enough!"

"It's been over a month, Luz, and many, many other, more important things have appeared since then. I'm not saying you shouldn't hate Lilith for what she did, but you should definitely get your priorities straight.

With that said, Eda left the living room, allowing Luz to sit on the couch and... think about things, perhaps.


Night had fallen on what Train visitors dubbed The Campfire Train, named as such because it was a favorite for... well, take a guess.

Currently, the Ruby Sulphur Trio, Zenith Fantasy, Red Lotus Trio, and Boa sat on their respective campfires, with Phos and Chloe sitting side to side, stargazing at the night sky.

"Ah, this is nice," Chloe said while resting against the grass. "You know, after the literal burning hell that was the Boiling Underworld Car, this was a much needed change of pace!"

"Yeah, it reminds me back when I was still training in the Lustrous Car," Phos remarked while looking at the stars. "Alongside... Antarcticite..."

Chloe faced Phos, looking genuinely sympathetic. "How's this Antarcticite?"

"They're the best: cool, calm, collected-"

"I think all three of those words mean the same thing."

"And yet they fit them all regardless," Phos chuckled. "But the best part about them is that, while everybody else sneered and looked down on me, they were fair. They were kind. They were willing to give me a hand when nobody else would."

Chloe looked back at the stars. "Sounds a lot like Specter to me... do you two still get along?"

"Yeah, definitely," Phos turned to Chloe. "What about you and Specter?"

Chloe paused, took a deep breath, and stood up.

"Well, at the beginning, I used to think he was the best. He comforted me, gave me support, he didn't see me like the daughter of a Pokémon Professor, he just saw me for who I was... but then, I couldn't help but re-examine what I thought of him when I discovered something his friends did. Something deplorable... that he was okay with."

Phos got up and asked. "What did he do?"

"I'd rather not get into details, but... well, I was against the idea of killing Boscha from the start. But when his friend had the choice of doing the same to some of the Pokémon who hurt me... he was too okay with it for my comfort."

Phos lowered their eyelids and sighed.

"And, listen, I don't like Spearows. Not since what that... pack of them did to me. But killing them was a step too far! They're creatures with thoughts and feelings! Even if they can only say their name, they're clearly sentient! And the fact his friend snuffed the life like they were nothing more than animals..."

Chloe sat back down and rested her cheek on her palm. "All because I jumped right into the chance to get a Pokémon and prove my father wrong..."

Phos looked elsewhere and scratched their head. "I know how that feels. I used to be quite impulsive myself, before Boscha came along and taught me how to hold back a little."

Chloe raised a skeptical eyebrow. "Boscha?"

"Yeah."

"The Lion of Cremation?"

"The very same one."

"She taught you restraint?!"

"I know it's hard to believe, but it's true," Phos snickered. "She taught me how to think things through before I rushed in, all while letting me know to "do as I say, not as I do."

Phos looked back at the stars, and as they did, Chloe smiled sympathetically.

"You know, Phosphorus... no, Phosphy... No-"

"Just call me Phos."

"Phos, right. You're not that bad, honestly," Chloe raised an eyebrow. "How did such a nice Denizen like you hang around a jerk like Boscha for so long?"

Phos inmediately turned hostile. "You realize you're calling a dead person a jerk, right?"

"She's not dead, she's comatose! Totally different!" Chloe shrugged, waving her hand dismissively. "Besides, you have to admit I'm right: Boscha was a colossal prick before I was forced to put her down. Honestly? She didn't deserve you and Chris."

Phos stood up and dusted themselves. "This conversation is over."

"Hey, come on, don't be like that!" Chloe whined as Phos walked away. "You can't deny she had it coming after her reign of terror!"

"SHUT UP!"

Chloe winced as Phos shot a disapproving glare at her, then walked back to Chris and his' campfire, where Boa had joined them.

Chloe took a deep breath and walked back to her, Atticus, and Lexi's campfire, sitting down next to Lexi while musing:

"Why is it so easy to mess up a potential friendship?"

"Hey, don't beat yourself up for it," Lexi said, patting Chloe's back. "They're the ones who let their tinted vision of Boscha blind them to how terrible she really was."

Chloe looked elsewhere, still visibly upset.

"How about we tell campfire stories?" the corgi king suggested. "You know, to take advantage of the scenery?"

"Hey, you're right! A campfire's not a campfire without campfire stories!" Chloe perked up immediately. "Can I be the first?!"

Atticus and Lexi looked elsewhere.

"What?"

"Well, Chloe, don't take this the wrong way," Lexi scratched the back of his head. "But your stories tend to be a little... biased."

"Oh, come on, that was back when I started traveling the Train! I've grown since then; my storytelling's nowhere near as biased as it used to be!"

"Well, you haven't really told a story since Azada-"

"Then it's time to start! Get ready, you two, 'Cause I'm about to give you a totally bias-free story!"


Meanwhile, with the Ruby Sulphur Trio, Phos sat down and looked at Boa while Chris cooked some marshmallows on a stick... using his mouth.

"You were... oddly receptive, of me coming along with you," Boa remarked, scratching her chin. "I figured you'd be... I don't know, a little apprehensive about the idea."

"Why would we? You may just be one of many pieces that make up Boscha's soul, but you're still Boscha," Chris replied, Phos nodding in agreement. "And we're coming with you to help you."

Boa raised an eyebrow. "I thought you came along with her to stop her from going on a rampage?"

"Nah, that's what I came with you," Chris nudged Phos' shoulder. "Phos here came along because you taught them how to get stronger."

Boa looked at the ground, humming in contemplation before asking:

"If you're here to help me, then perhaps I could ask for your opinion on something?"


As for Zenith Fantasy, the group surrounded the lit campfire, roasting marshmallows over it while enjoying their break... most of them, anyway.

"So, wait... you didn't lose your eye from the harpoon gun?" Lindsay asked. "You lost it before entering the Train?"

Lucy nodded and sighed. "I was still confused and unsure of what was going on, and when Grace and Simon found me, I decided to go along with their idea that I lost my eye thanks to a harpoon."

"I should've known something was amiss," Grace remarked. "Nobody would be able to survive a harpoon to the face, let alone their eye."

"Oh, you'd be surprised," Alex shook his head. "My family took me to a fishing trip last year, and they told me a story about my grandfather, who was a whaler-"

"Excuse me."

Everybody turned around, and saw Boa standing nearby, a small gift box on her hands.

"Is this a bad time?"

The kids remained quiet, while Hazy clung to Grace's arm and whispered:

"The Lion of Cremation..."

Boa looked apologetic for a moment, but quickly regained her composure as Lucy answered:

"Well, I guess we got time. You need something?"

Boa looked at the gift box nervously, then faced Chris and Phos, the latter flashing a thumbs up while the former mouthed:

"It's worth a shot."

Boa flashed a smile, then took a deep breath before assuming her neutral expression once more. She turned back to the group, and handed the gift box to a perplexed Lucy.

"What's this?" Lucy asked with a raised eyebrow.

"A gift..." Boa twiddled her fingers. "An... apology gift... to be exact."

Lucy tilted her head.

"I did a lot of terrible things back when I first entered the Train," Boa lowered her head and looked at the ground. "I want to at least try to make amends. Try to right the wrongs I've done."

"Well, if you think giving us a gift is going to be enough, then think again!" Lindsay snapped, stomping to Boa as she added. "I don't know if you get it, but what you've done isn't something that can be fixed with a simple gift box! You could spend years trying to make up for what you did, and none of us would feel any more comfortable being around you!"

"Okay, Lindsay, I think that's enough," Grace stated, walking to the girl's side. "How about you go eat some marshmallows with the rest while I take it from here?"

"Why!?" Lindsay snapped. "What could you possibly say to this b-"

"Lindsay, language!" Grace chided.

Lindsay bit her lips and growled, "Can't you see that she's trying to get away with what she did!? She tortured us until we were at death's door, then left while promising she'd out our heads in pikes! And now she's asking us to be buddies again after all that!?"

Knowing this would devolve into a ranting cycle, Lucy focused on the gift box and opened it... her eye widening as she reached inside and took out something peculiar.

A robotic eye.

This immediately caught everyone's attention, first looking at the eye with disbelief, then turning to Boa as the soul Denizen explained:

"I caused damage to what was already damaged. I broke what was already broken. It wasn't right. And I know it's far from enough, but I hope that, at least with this eye, the kid can regain the eye she lost-"

*SMACK!*

Boa hit the ground, the sound of the punch catching the attention of the Ruby Sulphur and Red Lotus Trios, prompting them to run to and separate the duo.

"What kind of sick, twisted game are you playing here, Null!?" Lindsay hissed at the Denizen. "You really think you can buy Lucy's forgiveness by giving her a robotic eye!?"

"Is she always like this?!" Chloe exclaimed while trying her hardest to keep Lindsay in place.

"Not really, she prefers to snark and growl rather than bite!" Grace answered as she grabbed Lindsay and brought her back to the camp. "Seriously, Lindsay, calm the heck down!"

"You want me to calm down while this Null's trying to buy our forgiveness with cheap toys!? Sorry, no can do!" Lindsay snapped. "I mean, seriously! Am I the only one who sees this trick for what it is!?"

Ignoring Lindsay once again, Lucy looked back at the robotic eye, inspecting it a little closer.

"I don't see any wires or things that could connect this with my brain so I could regain my sight."

"Aha! See!? It's bogus! She didn't even put effort into making the gift worthwhile! What more proof do you need!?"

Suddenly, Todd grabbed a bunch of marshmallows and threw them to Sara's mouth.

"Lindsay, do us all a favor, and shut up for one second," he told her before facing Boa. "Why would you give this to Lucy?"

"I'm no... mechanic, they're called? Technology isn't very common in the Boiling Isles, or at least, technology that's not from the Human world," Boa explained as calmly as possible. "But even if it were common, I don't know how that thing works. Hell, almost nobody does. So, I decided to trust that you'll find someone who knows how to connect it eventually."

Grace hummed. "Well, I think there's a Mechanic Car somewhere. We could go there and ask for help."

Then, she turned to Lucy. "But what do you think, Lucy? You're the one she hurt the most, after all."

Lucy looked at the mechanical eye, then Boa's neutral expression, prompting the question:

"Are you looking neutral because you don't care, or because you're not good with emotions? No offense."

"None taken," Boa frowned. "Truth be told, I lost the luxury of getting my hopes up a long time ago. So, I play it safe: so if you reject it, I won't be all that bummed out by it."

Lucy frowned and looked back at the eye. "The Boiling Underworld was that brutal to you, huh?"

Boa remained silent, and looked elsewhere. Lucy promptly smiled and extended her hand.

"Thanks for the gift. How about we bury the hatchet for now, and focus on helping you get out of this Train?"

Boa turned back to Lucy, and returned the smile as she shook hands with her... and her hand glowed.

The duo promptly checked Boa's palm, and saw her number had lowered.

By ".5" only, sure, but it still went down.

"Your number went down!" Lucy chirped. "That must mean the key to this number reaching zero is making amends!"

"Yeah, that sounds easier said than done," Chloe remarked with an amused smile. "Given who you used to be, the list of people you have to make amends to must be astronomically big-"

Before Chloe could finish, she felt a chill go down her spine as Boa put a hand on her shoulder and growled:

"Koharu, can I speak with you in private?"

Chloe could only lightly nod in a cold sweat. As she stood up, Lexi took out one of his kunais and aimed it at Boa.

"If you do anything funny, Free Rider, I won't hesitate to put you down!"

Boa stared at the kunai for a moment, then walked away, dragging Chloe by her hand. Once they left, Lexi tightly gripped his kunai, prompting Atticus to say:

"You know, it's not a good idea to intimidate the girl we're trying to protect."

"But this isn't any ordinary Passenger, Atticus! It's the Lion of Cremation!" Lexi pointed out. "You know, the monster that's been terrorizing the Train since she got here?! If we're not careful, she's gonna go around burning everything, just like she did the Forbidden Knowledge section in Azada!"

Atticus raised an eyebrow. "Isn't that the section populated by manipulative books who trick Passengers into falling to the dark side? Like when Amelia found that cloning book?"

Lexi winced, but quickly shook it off. "That's besides the point! She has the power to destroy everything, and the mind of a sadist! She's too dangerous to keep around!"

"That's exactly the point of the Heart System, Lexi: to split a Passenger's soul into Denizens to try help them work out their issues, and eventually reform into better person."

"But what if it doesn't work, Atticus!? What if we do everything we can to help her, and she just reforms into the same monster she used to be!?" Lexi rolled his eyes and folded his arms. "Really, when Chloe killed her, she should've stayed dead! That would've been much more helpful!"

Atticus stared sternly at Lexi and stood up.

"Lexi, I think you need a time out."

"Why?" Lexi rolled his eyes. "Because I'm not afraid to speak my mind?"

"Because you need to go vent somewhere else before you say something that'll make Chloe angry at you."

Lexi winced at the implication, and not wanting to complicate things any further, he stood up and walked into the woods, making sure to avoid the same road Chloe and Boa took.

Once alone, Lexi leaned against a tree and took a deep, frustrated breath.

"You're not angry about this because Boscha is irredeemable."

Lexi flinched and looked around, clenching his fists and trying to stay calm.

"It's because you don't feel comfortable helping the person who dismantled the Apex before you did."

A purple cloaked figure walked out of the bushes, flashing a smile as Lexi began shivering.

"Isn't that right..."

The hooded figure lowered her hood, revealing herself to be Hazel.

"Lexi?"

"Hazel!" Lexi brandished a kunai and aimed it at the girl. "What are you doing here!?"

"I'm not looking for a fight, if that's what you're asking," Hazel smiled. "I just wanted to talk with you for a bit."

"About what!?" Lexi growled, gripping his kunai tightly. "What could there possibly be for us to talk about!?"

"The Apex."

Hearing that group being mentioned again, Lexi shook his head, calming down while keeping his kunai raised.

"What about them?"

"Listen, Lexi, you and I, we share something in common: we're both angry at the Apex. Hate and loath them with our very being. And we also know that anybody strong enough to dismantle them, like, say, Boscha, is an even greater threat."

"And yet, you're working for them!"

"With them. Not for them. And that's only because I use something called long-term planning." Hazel tilted her head. "Ever heard of the phrase "keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer"?"

"That's the first time I've heard of it," Lexi narrowed his eyes. "B-But even if I had heard it before, what does that have to do with anything?!"

"Listen, I know it's difficult, being artificial and all, but use whatever equivalent of a brain you got and think about it: keeping your enemies closer implies gaining their trust. If you gain their trust, you get them to lower their guard. If you get them to lower their guard, you get them to enter a vulnerable state. And if they enter a vulnerable state-"

"You can take them out with ease," Lexi finished, his eyes widening in realization.

"Yeah! See? It wasn't so hard now, was it?" Hazel folded her arms behind her back and forth, Lexi keeping a stern eye on her as he did. "Even with all the power I have, there's no way in heck that I'll be able to defeat the Apex by myself. Especially when Amelia decided to give them so many neat little toys."

Hazel stopped, and faced Lexi once more.

"So, if you can't beat them at their strongest, you weaken them until you can deliver the killing blow."

Lexi raised a skeptical eyebrow, prompting Hazel to add:

"I have an offer to give you, Lexi," Hazel smirked with a Purple glint on her eyes. "And I think you'll find it very... beneficial, for both of us..."


"I'm sorry."

There were many scenarios Chloe expected to happen when Boa asked to speak with her in private, but the living soul apologizing for something certainly wasn't one of them.

"I didn't mean to offend you by calling you by your real name," Boa added. "I simply thought since "Chloe of the Vermillion" is just a nickname, that if I wanted to speak with the real you, and not the illusion, that I should use your real name."

"Oh... that's it..." Chloe breathed a sigh of relief. "For a second I was wondering what was going on-"

"Was that good?"

Chloe winced. "Huh?"

"The apology, was it good?" Boa shrugged. "I'm not sure if I'm doing this right or not, so I want to hear it from someone who has apologized before if I got something wrong."

"So, wait a minute," Chloe raised an eyebrow. "You don't know how to apologize?"

"I do, I just... don't know how I'm supposed to apologize," Boa lowered her head. "It's been so long since I apologized for anything... since I didn't feel fear that apologizing would end with me getting a beating."

Now that she thought about it, there was still a lot that Chloe didn't know about Boscha... actually, a lot everybody didn't know about Boscha. Maybe this was as good a time to ask as ever.

That, and it might be a decent payback for looking at her memories during the Paradise Lost Car.

"How was your... Boscha's life, prior to the Train?"

Boa hummed. "I don't have the full story, but I might be able to remember just enough to get a clear picture. I need a crystal ball, though."

"Did somebody say, crystal ball?!"

Chloe panicked and swung her donut holer at Chris, who barely even noticed. In fact, the donut holer was more damaged than he was.

"Aw man, I just got this thing!"

"Chris?" Boa asked with a raised eyebrow. "What brings you here?"

"Well, I had a feeling my services would be needed one of these days," the sentient crystal ball answered with a smile. "For you see, as a crystal ball, I also double as a divination tool! If you wanna, say, look into the past of someone, you can do it through me!"

"So, wait, you could do that all along?!" Chloe asked, earning a nod in response. "Then why wait until now to do it?!"

"Was it relevant previously?"

"I just met you! How would I know!?"

"Thanks, Chris," Boa blurted, twiddling her fingers. "But are you sure about this? I have a feeling the memories we'll see... could be intense."

"No offense, but I expect intensity from anything Boscha related at this point," Chris floated to Boa's lap. "So, go ahead!"

Boa nodded, and began motioning her hands.

"Do you know what you're doing?" Chloe asked bluntly.

"Mom was in the Oracle track back when she studied in Hexside, and she taught me a few things about it..."

Almost as if on cue, Chris closed his eyes and his face vanished, his spherical body glowing before a screen of light emerged from him.

The screen cleared up to show a simplified black and white version of a younger Boscha with her mother, Amirani, the only other color being the blue crystal ball.

"Now, Boscha, this is very important," Amirani said calmly. "The Oracle track might be all about telling the future, but that's not all it lets you do. You could, for example..."

A humanoid spectral figure emerged from the crystal ball.

"Summon a familiar."

Boscha went "Ooooh!" before clapping and giggling.

"I wanna try!"

"Hold your griffin, kid! I'm just showing you what else you can do besides future telling," Amirani laughed heartily. "For now, let's focus on that, okay?"

Amirani unsummoned the figure, and the duo kept practicing as both Boa and Chloe flashed a smile.

"Your mother seems... nice," Chloe said with a shrug. "You got any memories of your father?"

Boa hummed, then motioned her hands, changing the scene to that of Boscha and her father in front of a test tube with some robotic armor inside.

"You see this, Boscha? This is the future of the Boiling Underworld! No longer will people have to sacrifice themselves just to live another day! With these armor sets, they'll be able to repel the damaging effects of the world's atmosphere!" Prometheus proclaimed with joy. "The Strong! The Weak! And even the Nothings won't have to live with fear of imminent death anymore! Or at least, death by the atmosphere!"

"Can we make one for Skara, daddy?"

Prometheus petted Boscha's head. "Of course we can, sweetie. Of course we can."

"So, not only's your father a scientist, but he actually pays attention to you," Chloe sighed. "I hate to admit it, but I'm a bit-"

However, her happiness was replaced with worry upon seeing Boa frowning at the scene.

"What's wrong?"

"I don't know what's more upsetting; the fact that the Amirani and Prometheus of my recent memories are so vastly different from who they used to be..." Boa paused, avoiding eye contact before adding. "Or the fact these are the only good memories I have of them."

Chloe winced. "S-Seriously?"

"... It might be better if I show you."

Boa waved her hands, and the memory changed:

Now, the younger Boscha stood terrified behind a wall, a small critter laying by her side while Amirani stood at the other side, leaning back against a wall with her arms folded.

"Mom... I'm hungry..."

"Yeah, I know," Amirani growled. "You've been whining about it for the past five minutes."

"... I'm starving..."

"I already gave you dinner," Amirani pointed at the critter. "You just need to kill it before you eat it."

Boscha hugged the critter. "No! I can't kill them! They're my friend!"

"You believed Amity was your friend too, and look how that turned out," Amirani hissed. "Now stop whining like a Blight and kill it!"

Boscha kept hugging the critter, shivering as her mother got angrier and angrier... until eventually, she snatched the creature and cracked its spine, throwing its motionless body back to a horrified Boscha.

"There, it's dead now. Now, I'm gonna go discuss a few things with Persephone, and when I come back, I want to see nothing more than bones and blood left of this thing!"

And with that said, Amirani walked away, leaving the sobbing Boscha behind.

Chloe was left speechless. The cruelty, the brutality, her harsh tone... was this the same Amirani she just saw?

Well, she'd have to get her answer another day, because the memory soon transformed into a different one: this one had Boscha eating a plate of food while Prometheus looked at her, writing something on a notepad with some... potions next to him.

"Alright then, sweetie," Prometheus grabbed a yellow potion and handed it to Boscha. "Try this potion next."

Boscha swallowed her food before she grabbed the potion and drank it. However, she couldn't finish it before her veins began glowing a volcanic red, an agonizing pain coursing through her body as she hit the floor, shattering the potion in the process.

"AAAAAAH! IT BURNS! IT BURNS!"

"Hmm," Prometheus wrote something on the notepad. "Still too strong..."

"DADDY, HELP ME! IT BURNS! I'M MELTING!"

"Alright, calm down, geez," Prometheus said as he took out... a syringe. "If you yell any louder, you're gonna wake up your mother."

Prometheus injected the syringe on Boscha, and her veins stopped glowing as she dropped to the floor, twitching and vibrating as Prometheus asked:

"Better now?"

Boscha could only mumble her words, weakly getting up, only to drop down.

Chloe covered her mouth, for she felt that if she didn't, she'd scream at the inhumanity being shown to her right now.

But it wasn't over yet, for the memory changed yet again, this time showing Amirani mutilating a body by slamming a mace down it's body, its blood splashing not only her face, but Boscha's, who stood nearby shivering and crying like crazy.

"And that, is how you make sure your enemy stays dead," Amirani stated as she caught her breath. "Did you get that Boscha?"

The three-eyed witch dropped to her knees, looking at the body with sheer terror before she saw something even more terrifying:

Amirani's glare.

"Boscha, did you, or did you not, get it?"

Boscha began crying, which prompted Amirani to grab her by her dress and lift her.

"Are you kidding me?! You're crying for your enemy!? This monster wanted to kill you! And it would've killed you if I wasn't there to SMASH his brains to bits!"

"I... I don't wanna do this-"

"You don't want to survive?! You don't want to live?!"

"No! I just don't want to kill people!"

Amirani threw Boscha to the ground, the redhead standing up with a bleeding nose as her mother yelled:

"You don't want to kill the people that are trying to kill you!? Use your head, Boscha! You're an Apex! You're above everything! Pain! Rules! Consequences! Pity and regret! This world and the Boiling Isles operate on who kills who first! If you're not careful, you'll become yet another casualty of the Underworld! What Amity did to you?! Pales in comparison to what the other Isles denizens can do! What the Blights can do!"

Amirani leaned closer to Boscha, who backed away in terror.

"That's why you must learn how to kill, Boscha! To kill those who wrong you! Those who stand in your way! Those who'd hurt your friends! You must kill them all! Kill the Blights! Kill the Boiling Isles! Kill the world before the world it kills you!"

The terrified Boscha got up and ran away in all fours, crying heavily as Amirani gripped her mace and chased after her.

"Don't make me force you to stay put!"

And Chloe didn't even manage to react before the memory changed again, this time showing Boscha strapped to an operating table while Prometheus walked in, potions and syringes in hand.

"Boscha, it's time for your treatment."

Boscha whimpered, weakly trying to free herself from the restraints.

"No more... Dad, please..."

"Boscha-"

"No more injections... they hurt... they hurt a lot..."

"I know, sweetie, and I'm so sorry, but I assure you," Prometheus walked closer to Boscha, who began shivering and struggling harder. "After this injection, you won't feel the pain anymore-"

"No, daddy! Please! I'll be good! I promise I'll be good! Not another injection! NOT ANOTHER-"

But despite her protests, Boscha was injected with the syringe, letting out a squeak of pain... and then, nothing.

"So, Boscha... does it hurt?"

"No... not anymore..."

Prometheus caressed Boscha's hair. "Good. I'm proud of you, sweetie."

Chloe began hyperventilating, to the point she even reached for Chris, who was shivering hard. But before she could grab him, another memory played, this time showing an argument between Prometheus and Amirani.

"You're using our daughter as a guinea pig!? How could you do such a sick thing!?"

"That's rich coming from the same woman who lets her starve when she can't draw her blood!"

"At least I don't shove her in a machine and stuff her full of drugs! What the hell are you giving her anyway!?"

"Wouldn't you like to know-"

Chloe had enough, and snatched Chris right off Boa's hands, both the girl and the crystal ball shivering as Boa tilted her head, blinking twice with confusion.

The duo exchanged looks, and Chloe promptly stood up and rubbed her forehead, taking heavy breaths before saying:

"I... I think I need to go back home now..."

Boa frowned. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to disturb you."

Chloe opened her mouth, but just as quickly closed it, immediately moving away when Boa exclaimed:

"Wait, Koharu! Peacock told me to tell you something-"

"Not now, Boa, not-" then, she flinched. "You met Peacock?!"

Boa nodded, and next thing she knew, Chloe was right in front of her.

"What did she tell you?!"

Chapter Text

Alright, here we are. Act 1 has been rewritten, and now we can continue with the story proper.

Will I rewrite Act 2 as well? Again, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Here are some of the changes I added or expanded:

~ at certain points, two voices are heard in Boscha's head. The normal italic one is Boscha's true voice, while the bold italic one is her forced survival perspective on things.

~ Certain events are added, like Boscha visiting Azada, us seeing the Red Lotus Trio at the start of the chapter after they're introduced, and so on and so forth.

~ Others are expanded upon; the beginning fight of Chapter 13 actually has Zenith Fantasy do more stuff, while Chapter 14 has the Amity vs Skara fight greatly expanded upon.

I can't add much more than that, you'll have to re-read Act 1 yourself to see them.

But anyhow, let's not stall any longer; onwards to Chapter 24!



"Why didn't you tell me!?"

Peacock sipped her tea calmly as Chloe snapped, following by showing the newspaper she took from Peacock's cabinet, the same one Boa showed her that revealed a harsh truth:

VERMILLION CITY SCHOOL UNDER HEAVY SCRUTINY DUE TO MISSING STUDENT.

"Why didn't you tell me my school was suffering backlash from my disappearence, and all the other stuff that's been happening in Vermillion City!?"

Once Peacock finished her tea, she calmly put the teacup on the table, and reached for her pockets, all while seemingly ignoring the furious redhead.

"Answer me!"

Peacock was unfazed by Chloe's tone of voice, possibly because she spoke with a louder tone in general.

So it was quite a shock when Peacock not only took a lower tone of voice than usual, but also spoke completely seriously:

"You woke me up this early in the morning just to yell at me for something as dumb as a newspaper?"

"This newspaper has crucial information over what's been happening at Vermillion City ever since I got taken by the Train!" Chloe snapped, ruffling her hair as she put the paper on the table. "I could've known what's been happening to all my friends and loved ones and you just chose to keep this info a secret from me, you worthless, piece of-"

"Chloe, language!" Atticus chided.

Chloe bit her lips and growled, prompting Lexi to add:

"You're supposed to be Chloe's mentor! Your job's to help her grow and change for the better! Especially in regards to the Mahamayuri Train! And yet here you go, hiding crucial information from her when she desperately needs it! What the hell is wrong with you!?"

Peacock, however, remained immutable at the accusations, tapping the table with her mechanical finger as a few seconds of silence passed.

"Are you done wasting your breath? Or do I need to wait a half hour more before you'll shut your trap and let me explain?"

"How can you explain away such a prick move!?" Lexi yelled, Chloe nodding before adding. "Yeah! And besides-!"

"Chloe! Lexi! That's enough!" Atticus barked at the top of his lungs, walking to Peacock's side as he added. "Listen, I'm as angry at the fact we could've known this much sooner as you two, but snapping and throwing accusations left and right won't get us anywhere! You've been on the Train long enough to know that! If you really want to find out the truth, let Peacock speak!"

The duo shut up at the demand, and Peacock was quick to explain herself:

"Okay, for starters, remember when we first met, and I first showed you my house?"



"Alrighty then, here's where you'll be living until your training is complete!" Peacock chirped as everybody walked inside. "It's not ideal, but it's better than nothing!"

"Whoa! Look at how big this place is!" Chloe remarked with excitement. "It's much bigger than my house back in Vermillion City!"

At that remark, Peacock raised an eyebrow. "You know, you never told me anything about your home."

"I know, and I plan to keep it that way," Chloe responded. "The last thing I want to do is think about the place that lead me to this Train."

"Are you sure about that?" Peacock cocked an eyebrow. "Your world sounds pretty interesting. I'd like to hear about it."

"Well, I'd like to think it never existed," Chloe narrowed her eyes. "So drop this conversation before I drop an anvil on your head!"

"Chloe-"

"Listen up, you no-eyed freak! I've already been through enough pain and misery because of people wanting to know more about my hometown! I'm done with Vermillion City! The people in it, the Pokémon in it, everything! So do us all a favor and never bring it up again, or else I'll show you what Chloe of the Vermillion is really capable of!"



Chloe stood stunned at the memory, mumbling her words as both Peacock and Atticus waited for her to explain herself.

"I... I didn't mean anything by that threat!" Chloe growled, avoiding eye contact as Peacock stood up. "You didn't have to take it seriously!"

"Of course you'd say that," Peacock responded, a disapproving glare on her face. "When it gets you what you want, you'll threaten everyone and everything without regret. And yet, when those same threats come to bite you in the ass, you try to feign innocence by claiming you "weren't speaking seriously". You think I don't know what kind of game you're playing, Koharu?"

"Okay, first of all, don't call me that," Chloe stated sternly. "Second of all, how are people finding out my true name!?"

"I told you we should've skipped the True Name Car!" Atticus chided. "That's the Car where secret identities go to die!"

"Besides, even if you hadn't threatened me, I wouldn't have been able to tell you anything about the newspapers." Peacock narrowed her eyes. "Not while you were still trapped in the Illusion that the Train was your playground, instead of a therapy that you cannot avoid. It was only when that Boa girl got it through your thick head how this wasn't a game that I could even humor the idea of showing them to you, and I still needed to ask her to do it because I knew you wouldn't listen to me!"

"Of course I'd listen to you!" Chloe snapped.

"You ignored our training to go try to beat two groups who you weren't ready to take on, even after one of your teammates told you to stay. What reason would I have to trust you after that?"

Chloe fell silent, clenching her fists and lowering her head.

"That's what I thought. Now, if you excuse me, I'm going back to bed."

Peacock got off her seat and began walking away.

"Before you go," Chloe spoke. "Where did you even get the newspaper?"

"There's a newspaper delivery system on the Train, something about keeping Passengers up to date over what's happening in their absence or something," Peacock hissed, rubbing her forehead. "Listen, you want answers? Ask One-One or call the delivery service yourself. I'm hitting the hay, and may One-One have mercy if you try to wake me up again!"

Peacock stomped away, leaving Chloe to ponder about the newspaper alone...

"Ugh, what's all this yapping about?"

And then a familiar voice caught her attention, followed by a very familiar boy walking into view... and locking eyes with her.

"Chloe?"

"Goh?!"



Ever since Amity had been dropped at the "dungeon cell" that held both Skara and her mother, Persephone, Queen of the Boiling Underworld, she expected absolute hell. After all, given how badly she treated Skara before, including that one thing people just won't shut up about, it was to be expected.

And yet... nothing of the sort came.

Don't get it wrong, Amity didn't lower her guard at all, but the fact she was still in one piece, sitting on a simplistic bed on the ground, wearing a simple Purple gown, rather than laying on the ground, in pieces, and naked for extra humillation...

She was grateful, of course, but it did nothing to quelm her worry.

"Good morning, Amity."

The Blight turned around and gasped, clutching her chest when she saw Skara standing at the doorway. She was wearing a gown similar to hers, but red in color, and with the back exposed so she could spread her wings.

"I honestly thought you'd still be asleep; it's still quite early in the morning."

"Doesn't the Boiling Underworld have its own... light, or time, or whatever?" Amity pointed out. "How can you tell it's still early?"

"Because the fireflies haven't come out yet."

"Fire... flies?"

"I'll tell you about them later," Skara walked to Amity's bed and sat next to her. "Now, about why I was hoping to talk you early, it's because Amirani isn't awake at this hour. Which means we can talk about whatever we want without alerting her."

"That..." Amity frowned and lowered her head. "Sounds good..."

Skara flashed a little smile, then looked up. "It's been... what, over a month since I left the Isles?"

"Yeah..." Amity blinked twice. "I-It's been over a month."

"Well, I don't know about you, but that sounds like more than enough time to re-examine a few things," Skara answered with a shrug. "Besides, let's be honest: I was at an absolute low over a month ago. I mean, I thought going back here to the Boiling Underworld was a better alternative than just leaving Hexside and staying at the Isles, for crying out loud!"

"Yeah, that... that probably wasn't a good idea."

"Not just probably, it was definitely a bad idea," Skara chuckled. "But, besides that, I also realized I wasn't really fair to you. I mean, it's one thing to stand at the sidelines and watch as two of your supposed "friends" argue and snap at each other, but it's another to try an encourage them to get along, despite the obvious friction."

Amity looked at the ground. "You didn't know any better."

"That's more of a curse than a blessing, you know?" Skara scratched her head. "If I wasn't so damn oblivious to everything, maybe things could've been different."

"It's... not fair to put all the blame on you," Amity sighed. "If I had just reeled back my anger instead of giving Boscha the brunt of it-"

"And if Boscha had been more aware of what was going on, and how her attitude drove people away from her-"

Amity and Skara looked at each other.

"None of this would've happened."

Skara flashed a smile, prompting Amity to wince and look away, putting her legs close to her chest before wrapping her arms around them.

"Amity, I can only imagine what you've been through this past month. Learning how to control your new powers, people latching onto what you did before I left, and the general anger and frustration from everybody who wants Boscha to come back already so she can pay for what she did..." Skara frowned and went closer to Amity. "You didn't become the new scapegoat after I left, right?"

"No, people have left me alone," Amity took a deep breath. "If there's one good thing that came out of our fight, is that it taught people that it was for the better that they didn't make me angry."

"Hehe, yeah," Skara scratched her cheek. "Don't take this the wrong way, but your anger sometimes reminds me of Boscha."

A giggle escaped Amity's mouth. "Ouch."

"What I'm trying to say is, we're all guilty of the fallout. Sure, our parents played a big part in how everything went to hell, but we can't deny that we played a part in it." Skara petted Amity's head. "But, instead of wallowing in pity and sadness and what could've been, don't you think it would be better if we actually tried to make things work again? Or if not that, then try to move on with our lives?"

"... Did you know?"

Skara tilted her head. "Know what?"

"That... my father..." Amity pointed at herself, then pointed at Skara, looking positively worried. "A-And your mother..."

Skara shook her head. "Yesterday was the first time I ever heard about it."

Amity nodded, and looked back at the ground, before Skara grabbed her chin and made her look at her.

"Amity, that was something that happened between our parents. You can't blame yourself anymore than I can blame myself; we weren't even born back then!"

Amity wanted to say something in return, but to be honest? She couldn't think of a good counterargument. So she instead remained quiet... until Skara grabbed her hand and dragged her.

"W-Where are we going?"

"That talk left me feeling a little upset, so, why not see something pretty to cheer us up?"

Skara put Amity on a chair, then left the room for a moment before coming back with a crystal ball.

"Is that... Persephone's crystal ball?"

Skara nodded. "It lets her keep an eye on the Boiling Underworld even trapped in here."

Skara setup the crystal next to Amity, and after a few seconds, the interior of the ball changed, revealing the pitch dark environment.

"This is the part where the fireflies come in," Skara said with a wide smile.

Small bits of light arrived soon in the form of spheres of red fire, with tiny, insectoid wings that flapped as they flew towards the ceiling.

Once they had gone as high as they could, the spheres began circling one in the middle, whose wings dissipated into nothing.

The spheres began moving faster and faster, slowly but surely getting closer to the middle sphere, until they combined to form a house-sized fire sphere, whose light began emanating across the stomach.

"Wow..." was all Amity could say, eyes glimmering with amazement.

"Pretty cool, right?" Skara sighed as the image on the crystal ball vanished. "Unfortunately, that's as much as I can show you right now. Mom's about to wake up, and she doesn't like it when I borrow her crystal ball."

"And Amirani... she'll wake up too, right?" Amity grimaced. "W-What's she gonna do to me?!"

Skara frowned for a moment, then perked up and rubbed Amity's hair, flashing a smile as she did.

"Don't worry, things will work out eventually. I promise."

And with those words, Skara grabbed the crystal ball and left the room, leaving Amity to go back to bed and rest a little more.

And yes, she was grateful for Skara lightening up her day for a bit, but it was far too early to let her guard down...



Meanwhile, a portal door opened at the Infinity Train, Amelia walking out of it while checking a gadget.

"Alright, this gizmo should be operational in a bit," she remarked before walking forward. "Come on, Hazel, pick up the pace!"

Hazel, now donning the grey uniform, walked out of the portal and yawned, stretching as the door closed behind her.

"Hey, don't yell at me! I'm not the one who had the brilliant idea to-"

But any sass she could muster immediately vanished when Hazel opened her eyes and saw where she and Amelia were.

The Heartyard Car.

"Where... where are we..." Hazel winced, looking positively terrified. "Why are there so many people in crosses?!"

"Don't yell, will you? We're supposed to be undercover," Amelia quietly chided. "We're in the Heartyard Car. In this place resides all the Passengers who've been subjected to the Heart System."

"The Heart System?"

"Some kind of super secret system within the Train that allows Static Passengers to move beyond their static nature by splitting their soul into Denizens."

"Really? Then, everybody here..." Hazel paused to process the info, before an important question popped up. "W-Why are we here?!"

"I was informed that all who've been subjected to the Heart System have died prior, but I find that hard to believe," Amelia answered before scanning the Passengers in the crosses. "None of these Passengers look like they've been through near death. So, I'm gonna find out for myself."

"How?!"

"By checking for a heartbeat," Amelia took out a gadget and cocked it. "If we do get a heartbeat out of one of these guys, then we verify that death isn't necessary to be subjected to the Heart System."

"But why would you do that?! Why do you even need to confirm if death is required for this thing?!" Hazel snapped, stomping the ground. "What, do you wanna subject yourself to this?!"

Amelia fell silent, a sour yet regretful expression forming on her face as Hazel realized that maybe, just maybe, she had gone a little too far.

"Amelia, I didn't mean to say that-"

"Just stand watch in case something happens."

With those words spoken, Amelia walked towards one of the crucified Passengers and began scanning them, leaving Hazel to stand guard...

And then, she felt something.

"A-Amelia, did you feel that?"

"Not now, Hazel," Amelia growled. "I'm busy."

Off in the distance, a pair of blue eyes glew, flashing a threatening glare at the duo.

"Amelia, there's something here with us," Hazel said, pulling Amelia's sleeve before the woman slapped her hand away. "And I don't think they like what you're doing-"

"And I just told you, I'm busy," Amelia responded, now sounding exasperated.

The glare intensified, an intimidating growl added as well.

"Okay, it's official, they hate what you're doing!" Hazel grabbed Amelia's waist and began shaking her. "So stop scanning that dead body and let's get out of here!"

But Amelia simply slapped Hazel with the back of her hand and snapped:

"How many times must I tell you I'm busy!?"

However, once she turned around, she saw the same glowing glare that Hazel did, and froze as the eyes dashed towards her.

Luckily, Hazel quickly pushed Amelia out of the way, being struck in her place by the owner of the glare, the resulting explosion sending both Amelia and Hazel flying away.

Good news? Hazel had coated her skin in metal before the strike, though the impact was still hard enough to crack it.

Bad news? She couldn't undo the metal coat before she landed next to Amelia.

"Hazel?! Since when can you turn your skin into metal?!"

"First of all, I'm not turning my skin into metal, I'm coating it with metal!" Hazel clarified as her skin turned back to normal. "Second of all, can we talk about this later?!"

"GRAAAAAAH!"

The pair turned around, and saw the source as... Boscha. But with pitch black sclera, glowing eyes, and pale skin. Not only that, but she held the very cross she had been crucified on over her shoulder.

"The Lion of Cremation?!" Amelia exclaimed as she stood up. "But she's supposed to be dead!"

"She, for all intents and purposes, is dead."

Everybody looked up, and saw the Master of Masters floating above them, a runic symbol behind him that dissipated as he floated to the ground.

"Allow me to explain..."


Once the day properly started for the Boiling Underworld, the first thing Skara did was check up with her mother to grab something:

A syringe.

"Thanks for this, Mom," Skara said while looking at the object. "I'm sure Amity will appreciate it."

"I'm only doing this for Amity because you asked me, and because it's for the better that Amirani doesn't bother us," Persephone sighed. "I just hope this is the only time we have to use this."

Skara nodded in agreement, and pocketed the syringe before heading off to check on Amity... who already stood up, arms folded.

"So, you're awake," Amity spoke with a familiar voice. "Your Highness."

Skara's smile quickly faded, replaced by a stern glare. "Amirani."

The possessed Blight turned around and walked up to Skara, hissing:

"Why am I not sensing the Blight being subjected to a painful, agonizing torture?"

Skara glared at Amity, refusing to answer to Amirani's words.

"I delivered her to you, just like your mother wanted. She already said her piece to her, now, it's your turn."

Skara remained silent, sharpening her glare as Amirani started to grow exasperated.

"Alright, you little brat, listen up: this is Amity Blight. You know, the girl who demeaned you? Who humilliated you? She shoved an icicle through your head, for crying out loud!" Amity grabbed Skara's dress and pulled her towards her. "You can't tell me you don't want her to suffer the same pain and misery she subjected you to!"

With a look of absolute authority, Skara sternly responded:

"Stop touching me. Now."

Amity quickly obeyed.

"And secondly, let's say I did want her to suffer: who says that I want her to suffer just like you want her to?" Skara folded her arms. "Admit it, Amirani; you only want me to hurt Amity because you can't be satisfied!"

Amity narrowed her eyes. "Satisfied?! You think I want you to do this for my own satisfaction!?"

"She lost her reputation because of what she did to me! The people of the Boiling Isles no longer admire her, but fear her! She's been turned into a Pseudo-Abomination! The truth about what happened between her and Boscha has come to light! And you not only told her how Prometheus wiped out her family, but that she's my half sister!" Skara snapped, walking forward as Amity backed away, until eventually, they hit a wall. "And after all of that, you want to keep putting her through the wringer?! How much more does she have to suffer before you call it quits and piss off!?"

Amity gritted her teeth and snarled, "Listen up! This isn't about personal satisfaction! This is about making sure the Blight-"

Suddenly, Skara took out the syringe, and jabbed it on Amity's neck.

"I'm just about done listening to your bullshit."

Skara injected the syringe's contents into Amity's body, and as Amirani and Amity's voices screamed in unison pain, Amity's veins stopped glowing and turned back to normal, her sclera turning back to their natural white color soon after, leaving only the Purple fingers behind.

Once everything was done, Skara took out the syringe, and rubbed Amity's hair.

"Good girl, Amity!"

"W-Wha..." Amity looked at her hands and arms. "What happened? Why aren't my veins tainted anymore?"

"That's because I injected some special formula Mom made to combat your hybrid status, and more specifically, Amirani's control over you," Skara answered plainly. "It doesn't quite works completely, but you shouldn't be under Amirani's control anymore."

Amity raised an eyebrow. "Special formula?"

"Mom's been developing an anti-hybrid formula for a while now," Skara explained as she calmly pocketed the empty syringe. "That way, any hybrid artificially made, like say, a Pseudo-Abomination, can be turned back to their pre-hybrid state."

"Whoa... that's incredible..." Amity remarked, though her shock was quickly replaced with confusion. "But why would you use it on me and not you?"

"Are you kidding me?! These wings are the best!" Skara giggled. "But also, it just didn't feel right using it on me, knowing that you're Amirani's puppet as long as you remain a hybrid."

Amity took a deep breath, and flashed a grateful smile before hugging Skara.

"Thank you! I don't know how I'll ever repay you..."

Skara returned the hug. "It's alright. For now, let's focus on staying low. Amirani's going to come here sooner or later-"

"What?!" Amity screamed before pushing Skara back. "She is?!"

"Well, you two screamed at the same time for a reason," Skara scratched the back of her head. "The formula affected both you, and her. Meaning she also lost her connection to you. Meaning she's gonna come see what just happened-"

"AAAAAAH-"

Skara hastily covered Amity's mouth. "Amity, believe it or not, screaming your lungs out's only gonna get here to come here sooner. Besides, don't worry; I know where we can go to hide for now."

"Ou do?"

Skara flashed a knowing smile, and before they knew it, the girls walked to a bookshelf next to Persephone's bed... and it flipped over, taking them to a passage right behind it.

They walked down along the corridor, going further and further down as Amity held back the desire to figure out where they were going.

I mean, if the Boiling Isles was the skeleton in general, and the Boiling Underworld was the stomach, where-

"Here we are!"

Skara opened a door, and Amity was mesmerized by what she saw inside: it was a safe room, no doubt about it, but it had several bookshelves filled to the brim with books from a certain series:

Azura the Good Witch.

"This used to be my Mom's safe room back when she was younger, but I don't think she'll mind if we use it," Skara explained. "I just hope you don't mind Azura the Good-"

But when she turned around, Amity was no longer by her side.

"-Witch?"

"OH MY TITAN!"

Skara turned around, and saw Amity scanning the bookshelves in delight.

"This has got to be comprised of the entire Azura series so far!" she chirped. "Azura and the Rise of the Azurites! Azura and the Living Palisman! Azura and the Day of Unity!"

"Yup, those and many more of her books are here," Skara said as she walked to Skara's side. "I didn't think you'd be a fan of her."

"A fan? Me?! Nah, that's not it at all!" Amity remarked, waving her hand dismissively. "One of the kids at the library I volunteer at suggested the book to me, and the other kids bullied me into reading it for them!"

Skara giggled. "Really now? Well, if you don't mind reading it, how about we do that?"

"Sure, why not, but where do we start?"

"Hmm... I think I know a good starting point."

With that said, Skara grabbed a book and showed its cover and title to an intrigued Amity:

Azura and the Living Wight.


"This is what is known... as a Wight."

The Master of Masters, Amelia, Hazel, and the "Wight" Boscha sat down on the floor, the cloaked figure ruffling Boscha's head as he said that.

"Wight?" Hazel repeated. "That's an actual word?"

The Master of Masters nodded. "And it is the name given to the undead witches of Boscha's world."

"Undead?" Amelia raised an eyebrow. "So, witches in Boscha's world can revive?"

"Not revive; become undead," the Master of Masters clarified. "See, where Boscha comes from, when a witch dies, their soul is split from their body and goes to another world. The body that's left behind then rises up again, becoming their equivalent of a zombie: a wight."

The Master of Masters began petting Boscha's head, the undead witch keeping a stern glare on Amelia and Hazel all the while.

"When I found out about this, I decided to take advantage of this, and gave her the duty of guardibg the Heartyard Car. You know..."

The Master of Masters faced Amelia.

"So that nobody bothered the Passengers in their deep sleep."

"See? I knew coming here was a bad idea!" Hazel snapped at Amelia. "If it wasn't for me, you'd be dead!"

"Hazel, quiet," Amelia stated. "The adults are talking."

Boscha growled in disapproval as the Master of Masters waved his index finger and said:

"That's not how we thank people for saving us, Amelia."

The woman groaned and took a deep breath. "Fine... thank you, Hazel."

Hazel blushed, and covered her cheeks while flashing a cheeky smile. "Say that again!"

Amelia narrowed her eyes. "Don't push your luck."

Hazel pouted and blew a raspberry at the woman.

"Now, back to the important stuff," the Master of Masters stated. "What exactly were you looking for in here, Amelia?"

"Oh... um-"

"Yeah, Amelia," Hazel nudged the woman's shoulder. "What were we looking for, again?"

Amelia growled, and after taking a deep breath, she explained:

"I felt a bit skeptical about the idea of people dying and going to this Car, so Hazel and I-"

"Mostly her," Hazel added, pointing at Amelia with a cheeky smile.

"Came here to find out if any of the Passengers here had heartbeats."

"Well, I'm certain Boscha here just gave you an answer to your question," the Master of Masters spoke, glancing at the wight before turning back to Amelia. "And for your own good, I suggest you drop the idea here. Boscha's role is to guard this Car, after all, and I don't think she appreciates what you're doing."

The Master of Masters folded his arms. "And neither am I."

Amelia took a deep breath. "Alright, I get the hint. Come on, Hazel, we're going back to the Mall Car."

"Got it."

The duo got up, and a portal door opened, which Amelia walked through before the Master of Masters spoke:

"So, how's Amelia been acting so far?"

"Same as always," Hazel responded. "Stubborn, aloof, distant, and unwilling to listen to reason."

"Hmm... has she made any progress fixing that?"

"Did she look like she made any progress to you?"

The Master of Masters hummed. "I see... well, Hazel, we just need to be patient. Helping Amelia is, after all, the reason why I took you out of your pod."

Hazel narrowed her eyes. "You say that like it was a good thing."

And with those words spoken, Hazel walked through the portal door, Boscha throwing a concerned look at the cloaked being.

"It's... nothing you have to worry about, Boscha. Just focus on protecting the Car, okay?"

And with that, the Master of Masters vanished, leaving Boscha to grab her cross and go back to her spot.

Chapter Text

Good lord, this is probably the longest chapter I've written in a while.

No big reveal or details or trivia or whatever, I'm tired, here's the chapter, peace. XD


Chloe couldn't help but feel like this was a bad joke.

Once everybody had gone to sleep and gotten enough rest, and one of Peacock's cartoon friends woke them up, Chloe was expecting, hoping even, that the Goh she saw was just a hallucination due to lack of sleep.

But no, here he was, sitting at the same table as them, and eating the same pancakes as everyone else.

"Okay, so first you hide important information regarding Vermillion City, and then you hide the fact Goh's on the Train," Chloe growled as she slowly faced Peacock with a furious scowl. "Is there anything else you're not telling me, Peacock!?"

The girl didn't answer, instead focusing on eating her pancakes just as Goh cooed:

"These are some really great pancakes!"

"Why, thank you, Goh," Peacock said with a smile. "I'm glad you like them! Anything for my dear guests!"

"Uh, excuse you, Chloe asked you a question," Lexi growled. "You could at least answer her!"

"I would, if I actually had a reason to believe Chloe would listen to me," Peacock glared at Chloe. "But I don't have a reason to believe that, do I?"

Chloe gritted her teeth and snarled, prompting Atticus to hastily speak:

"S-So, Goh! Chloe's told us a bit about you!"

"Really?" Goh tilted his head. "What did she tell you?"

"How you never listened to her, how you abandoned her, how you were the worst friend ever, how you don't deserve such a great person like her as a friend," Lexi listed, all while Chloe looked away in frustration. "Do I need to keep going? Maybe I should keep going-"

And then Peacock brandished a gun.

"HOLY SHIT!"

"Lexi, I don't think I have to remind you that we're having breakfast right now," Peacock smirked. "So how about we focus on eating a little bit, and leave the spiteful blame throwing for when I'm not holding a gun in my hands, alright?"

"It's not spiteful if it's true!" Chloe snapped before pointing at Goh. "He completely ruined my one chance to reconcile with my father!"

Peacock raised an inquisitive eyebrow, prompting Chloe to explain:

"We were at Azada, right? I was given a phonebook to contact my father, and I did. We talked for a bit, we came to see both of us were wrong about stuff, but before we could fully reconcile, this jerk and Ass Kissem barge into the room and take his attention away from me!"

Peacock eyed Goh, who nodded with a frown in confirmation.

"It's what always happens! Whenever I get the chance to get my father's attention, Goh just needs to step in and do anything to take him away from me! I one chance to make things better with my father, and he ruined it!"

"Your one and only chance... was it because you couldn't, or didn't want to contact him again?"

Chloe blinked twice.

"Chloe, you've been stuck on this Train for half a year at this point; you can't seriously tell me you haven't had another chance to call your father in that time-"

"That's besides the point!" Chloe yelled, slamming her fists against the table before turning to Goh. "Why didn't you tell me you were on the Train!? In fact, why didn't you contact me at all!?"

"Well, how do I put this..." Goh scratched the back of his head. "I kinda don't have a phone anymore."

"What are you talking about?"

"Well, first, the Team Rocket Trio Ash mentioned once stole it because they thought they could use it to track and catch Pokémon, which it can't do, by the way. Then, while I was calling Yeardley to discuss a couple things, a Gym Leader thought my phone was actually hers, causing her to chase me all the way across the Region until I cleared the misunderstanding. Finally, I returned to the Institute, saw this Daiki kid looking for you, gave him my phone so he could call you... and then he slammed it against the ground."

"Ugh, you probably pissed him off somehow," Chloe rolled her eyes. "That's another thing you always do; you piss people off and you don't even notice!"

"Speaking from experience, I assume," Peacock scoffed. "Anyway, I found Goh walking aimlessly across the Train Cars sometime before we met. I had heard about him over the scandalous stories you've told about him to some of the Denizens, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to give him a place to stay."

"Well, you should've told me he was here!"

Peacock grinned. "And you should've heard me and kept training before dealing with the Ruby Sulphur Trio and Zenith Fantasy, but you didn't do that, did you?"

Chloe didn't even bother giving Peacock answer. "Goh, what's your number?"

The boy promptly revealed his glowing palm, sporting a "150" that flickered.

"That's about an average number, I'd say," Atticus remarked with a frown. "And it seems he's a Static Passenger."

"Which serves him right!" Lexi stated, Chloe nodding in agreement. "That's what he gets for having tunnel vision-"

*BANG!*

Lexi winced in pain as he leaned back and reverted back to his book form, flying up to Peacock as he yelled:

"YOU SHOT ME IN THE HEAD! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!?"

"Oh, stop crying about it; as long as you're in a transformed state, you can't actually die," Peacock stated in response. "Besides, that's what you get for getting on my nerves."

"But I was just telling the truth!"

Peacock aimed her gun right at Lexi's index.

"If I were you, I'd shut my trap before I started spilling pages and ink on the floor."

Lexi got the message and flew back to his seat.

"We're getting off track," Chloe shook her head. "How are things back home? Is Daiki okay?"

"Is my father okay? Is my brother okay? Is my mother okay? Are my friends okay?" Peacock listen, growing increasingly more and more furious until she snapped. "ARE YOU OKAY!?"

"E-Everything is fine... for the most part," Goh snapped his fingers and reached for his back. "But before I talk about that, a figure in a black cloak told me to give you something..."

"Black cloak?" Chloe tilted her head. "You mean the Master of Masters?"

"I dunno, he just gave me something and told me to give it to you," Goh shrugged. "Aha! Here it is!"

The guy took out an invitation to... The Cupid Bee Car. And though Chloe raised an eyebrow, she quickly realized something:

"Oh dear Arceus, we're late!"

Atticus, Lexi, and Chloe ate their pancakes as fast as they could, then stood up.

"Thanks for the pancakes, Peacock, but we gotta go!"

And with that said, they ran off, leaving Peacock and Goh alone.

"What's the rush?" he asked.

"Eh, it's a long story, handsome," Peacock grinned and took off her hat. "One I got no problem telling you about, but only if you come with me."

"To where?"

Peacock's smile widened. "Somewhere fun..."



Another day, another reminder that not only had Amity been kidnapped by Boscha's parents, but that the Blight twins had come to stay at the Owl House. A fact that Luz found more and more awkward by the minute.

She was currently eating a breakfast with King, Eda, Lilith, and the twins, the latter looking surprisingly comfortable eating what was probably far beneath their "aristocratic pallets", as Amity put it.

"So, what's the plan, kids?" Eda asked the twins. "You do realize you can't stay here forever, right?"

"Don't worry, we're not planning to," Emira said, waving her hand with a giggle. "We just need to take care of a couple things before we're sure we can return home."

"And I assume one of those things is making sure your mother won't throw a fit?" Lilith asked sternly. "Because to be honest, the only way I can see that happening is by getting rid of her."

Then she grabbed King, who was sitting next to her plate, eating her food.

"Just like how I'll get rid of this thing if he doesn't stop eating my food!"

"You can't threaten me!" King snapped. "I'm the king of all demons!"

"Fine by me!" Lilith narrowed her eyes. "I always wanted to know how it felt like to be a Kingslayer!"

King scratched Lilith's face and ran away, the woman grabbing her staff and chasing after the creature as Luz and the twins stood up.

"Well, we're gonna be late for school at this point," Luz said. "We should get going."

"And you're planning to walk together there?" Eda asked, all while she was oblivious to the chase going on behind her. "Wouldn't that, I dunno, cause some suspicion?"

"Don't worry, we'll be sure to split off before anybody can see us," Edric said, flashing a thumbs up. "And if anything happens to Luz, we'll be there to help her."

"Sure you will," Luz muttered under her breath.

"Well, have a good day at school," Eda said while Lilith and King flew over her head. "In the meantime, I'll try stop Lilith and King from killing each other."

"Got it," Luz flashed a smile. "Good luck with that, Eda."

And with that said, the trio left the house, and began walking to Hexside together, Luz keeping a slight distance from the twins as they walked.

"So, we're walking together with Mittens' girlfriend for the first time!" Emira chirped, clasping her hands together as Luz rolled her eyes. "It's the first time we get to walk with our own legs, too, so that's also a plus!"

"So, wait," Luz turned to the twins. "You've never walked to school before?"

"Nuh uh, Mom and Dad always insisted we should fly to school. Mom especially," Edric folded his arms. "In fact, she always said the same thing whenever we asked her why we couldn't walk for once."

"A Blight doesn't have to walk the same ground as their inferiors!" Emira spoke with a mocking tone, and a voice eerily similar to Odalia's. "The day you walk to school is the day you stop being a Blight!"

"Hahaha, you actually sound like Odalia!"

*SMACK!*

The trio stopped as Luz grabbed her cheek, Emira flashing a furious sneer as she waved her hand in pain.

"Emira!" Edric exclaimed.

"What?!" Emira snapped back. "She insulted me!"

"I didn't!" Luz exclaimed defensively. "I was just complimenting your ability to imitate Odalia's voice!"

"Wha... really?"

"Yeah!"

Emira flinched and looked shocked for a moment, before she narrowed her eyes and spat:

"Well, next time, make sure your compliment sounds more... complimenty!"

Frustrated, Luz rolled her eyes and kept walking, Edric shooting a disapproving look at his twin sister before they followed Luz.

"Hey, Luz," Edric blurted, getting the human girl's attention. "You wanna come with us after school?"

Luz raised a skeptical eyebrow. "Why?"

"Oh, well, we found something interesting at the library Mittens volunteers at. And before you ask, Mom and Dad forced us to take Amity's place there," Edric shrugged. "We thought it wouldn't hurt if you came with us to check it out."

Luz was almost convinced by Edric's little smile to come along.

Keyword being almost.

"Yeah, sorry, not happening. I don't hang out with troublemakers."

Edric tilted his head. "What about those three guys in detention-"

"Outside of the Skara incident, they haven't caused any problem since they left detention, unlike you!"

"Unlike us?!" Emira repeated, appearing between the duo as they stopped for a moment. "Now what's that supposed to mean?"

"Oh don't play dumb, Emira, I know how you two've been acting since the library incident!" Luz narrowed her eyes. "Amity told me everything!"

"Oh come on, Luz, you can't take Mittens' words for everything," Emira pointed out, waving her hand in a dismissive manner. "You actually need to see what she's claiming with your own eyes-"

"Except I already have!" Luz spat, stopping the twins right on their tracks. "Not only did you transform Amity's favorite childhood character into a monster, but you also threatened to reveal the contents of her diary! A diary that, by the way, I had to replace because you two destroyed it!"

"Is that what happened?" Edric asked, scratching his chin in thought. "That's weird, I thought Amity lost her diary because she set it on fire."

"That's what happened, Edric," Emira folded her arms and shot a look at Luz. "Human's just so desperate to put her girlfriend on a pedestal that she takes her word for it."

"Oh, so I'm "Human" now?" Luz narrowed her eyes.

"You've always been human, "Human," Emira pointed out as she walked past the girl. "And you'll always be "Human" until you grow up."

Luz mumbled her words and flailed her arms as Emira walked ahead, hands on her hips and hair swayed to her left. After a short moment, Edric walked away and waved goodbye.

"Good luck in class today!"

"THANKS! YOU TOO!"

Luz took several deep breaths as she tried to calm down, taking the same pose that those girls took in those manga she read whenever they felt indignant.

"Luz?"

"WHAT!?"

Luz flinched upon seeing Gus jumping and backing away, barely holding his balance.

"Oh, sorry, Gus, I didn't know you were there!" Luz said as she helped the boy stand straight. "Actually, come to think of it, I haven't seen you at all outside the Human Appreciation Society. What gives?"

"Well, ever since the whole "Emperor Belos" debacle, Dad insisted I study at home to avoid catching the eye of any of the emperor's agents," Gus rolled his eyes. "He sometimes lets me go to Hexside to visit the Human Appreciation Society or taking a few classes, but I mostly stay at home."

"Ah, I see," Luz frowned. "I envy you."

"And what about you?" Gus inquired. "What's making you so angry?"

"Well, it's just... don't tell anybody, but Amity got kidnapped and taken to the Boiling Underworld-"

Gus gasped, but quickly covered his mouth.

"Yeah, it's that bad. I've been trying to think of how to get her out of there, but I got nothing!" Luz pocketed her hands. "And the worst part of it is, the longer I stay here on the Isles, the longer Amity has to suffer in that horrible place!"

"Amity's no pushover, though."

"I know, but the Boiling Underworld is on an entirely different level compared to the Isles. I mean, who knows what horrible stuff she's being put through as we speak!"



"Okay, so, as I've already told you, Boscha and Mattholomule were dating for a while," Skara told Amity as they both had breakfast at the safe room. "Well, since I was her best friend, she always told me about how their latest dates went. Secret dates, of course, can't let such a crazy pairing become common knowledge, you know?"

"Yeah, I know."

"Okay, so, during one date they had, Mattholomule told Boscha that he loved her," Skara rolled her eyes. "You know, normal dating stuff and such."

Amity nodded. "And what did Boscha do?"

Skara smiled cheekily. "She planted him a kiss and pinned him on the ground!"

"Oh! My! Titan!" Amity exclaimed with a quirky blush. "Boscha would totally do something so blunt!"

"It gets better!" Skara tapped her thumbs together. "Mattholomule then said, "you could at least tell me you love me! Or something!" So Boscha leaned to his ear, and you know what she said?"

"What did she say?!"

Skara gestured Amity to lean closer, and she did, giggling as Skara whispered:

"I'm about to show you how much I love you, baby."

The girls separated and entered a fit of laughter.

"She did not!"

"She did!"

"She. Did. Not!"

"She did~!"

The laughing fit continued for a while, at least until Skara calmed down and opened a book, leaving Amity to finish by wiping a tear off the edge of her year.

"Man, that was a good laugh!" she giggled. "Why did it take us so long to share a nice moment like this one?"

"Because we were both terrible people who were way more focused in being mean to each other," Skara snickered. "There was little time to get to know each other better."

"Yeah, I guess that's true," Amity put a hand on her cheek. "Then again, the one saying that's also the one member of the group who chose to stick at the sidelines and do nothing while Boscha bullied everyone."

Skara's smile faltered as she focused on her book, a fact that Amity was quick to catch on.

"Yeah, you still haven't gotten over that bit, have you?" Amity shrugged. "The fact that so many things could've been avoided, and so much pain could've been averted, if you had just left your pretty little comfort zone and actually done something to stop Boscha-"

Skara closed her book with a loud *THUD!*, which was followed by a louder one as she slammed it against the table.

"A-Actually, on second thought, that was uncalled for," Amity hastily grabbed her breakfast. "Please act like nothing happened-"

And then Skara swept the table clean of contents, right before she slammed her hands down the table and glared at the terrified Amity.

"I don't tear you a new one when you appear on this cell, I help you calm down this morning, I show you the fireflies creating the sun, I inject you with a formula to remove both your hybrid status and Amirani's control over you, and I risk Boscha's trust by telling you a funny story she told me, and you reward me by spitting my mistakes once my face!?"

Skara slammed her hands down again, causing Amity to lean back... and reveal a peculiar symbol on her forehead.

"Amity... since when do you have a third eye on your forehead?"

"I..." Amity tilted her head. "Don't?"

Realizing what this meant, Skara grabbed Amity's hand, dragged her out of the safe room, and reached Persephone's bedroom before showing the symbol on Amity's forehead, saying:

"Mom! I think we have a problem!"



A long time passed before the twins finished their classes, at which point they quickly left and went to the local library for their shifts.

Luz had been convinced to come along, and by "convinced" it really meant that Emira dragged her with them to the library.

"Alright, time to start another day at the library!" Emira said with excitement as she put her name tag on. "Hopefully this time, the children can appreciate the effort I put into reading for them."

"Sure, I hope that too," Edric shrugged. "Anyway, I'm gonna go check the books are in order."

"And I'm gonna goof off, 'cause tomorrow's the weekend!"

Luz chirped as she ran off, ignorant of the many witches shushing her. The twins split off to do their own things soon after, and in Edric's case, it wasn't long before something caught his interest.

"Hey, Jerbo," Edric said to the sniffing dual track student. "are you okay?"

"No," Jerbo sniffed. "My girlfriend, Amelia... she never came back from the Boiling Underworld-"

"The wha-" Edric covered his mouth, then calmed down before he whispered. "The Boiling Underworld?! What was she even doing there?!"

"That's not important, man. What matters is that she never returned, and I feel so empty now that she's not here with me..."

Edric patted Jerbo's back. "I'm sorry to hear that. I mean, I didn't even know you had a girlfriend until now, but still, you got my condolences."

"Thanks," Jerbo wiped away his tears. "Anyway, I'm not in the mood to enter another relationship after Amelia left-"

"I wasn't planning to ask you out."

Jerbo paused. "I'm sorry, what?"

"Well, first of all, I don't even know if I swing that way, and second of all, you're clearly still hung up over the loss of your girlfriend," Edric folded his arms. "To try use that as an excuse to date you would be a low blow. And I might be a Blight, but I'm a Blight with standards."

"Wow, I never thought I'd hear "Blight" and "standards" in the same sentence," Jerbo winced. "No offense."

"None taken, but seriously, what kind of person would be so unfettered to take advantage of a breakup?"



"Heya, Mattholomule!"

Emira leaned against a bookshelf as the Construction track student flinched and looked at her.

"Hi there... Emira."

"Hey, I heard you had a bad breakup with Boscha," Emira said as she leaned closer to the disinterested guy. "How long ago was it again?"

"Over a month ago, before Skara turned into a griffin monster."

"Right, I heard about that too," Emira hummed. "Anyway, you know, I'll always be available to cheer you up when you need it!"

"Uh huh."

"Yup! I'm always available!"

Mattholomule didn't answer, diverting his attention elsewhere as Emira narrowed her eyes.

"Always single..."

Mattholomule kept quiet, at which point she grabbed and pulled his ear.

"Always getting stood up by ungrateful little twerps like you!"

"Stood up?! When did I ever stood you up?!"

Emira pulled harder. "Grom, remember!? I invited you and everything and you didn't even show up!"

Mattholomule eventually slapped Emira's hand away, getting some distance away from her before stating:

"I never even wanted to go to Grom! And when you gave me that invitation, I made it clear I wasn't coming!"

"Pfft, and I was supposed to believe that?" Emira put her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes. "What kind of loser would sit out one of the biggest high school events of the year?!"

"Probably someone who'd rather not be the loser who got stood up by a guy younger than her."

And with that, Mattholomule left, leaving Emira to huff and puff and-

"Excuse me?"

Emira turned around, baring her teeth and growling like an animal, only to calm down when she saw a familiar face standing nearby.

"Oh hey, you're that kid who skipped grades," Emira hummed. "What was your name again? Buzz?"

"Augustus, actually," Gus shrugged. "But my friends, and most people actually, call me Gus for short."

"Alright, got it. So, what can I do for you?"

Gus reached for his back and took out a peculiar book: one from the Azura the Good Witch series.

"One of the kids ran up to me and asked me to give you this."

"Azura and the Hidden Library," Emira sighed. "Not this stupid book again."

Gus raised an eyebrow. "Is something wrong?"

"No, it's just... ugh, nevermind, I'll go read this to the kids in a minute-"

"Actually, they want your brother to read it to them."

"Then why would you give this to me!?"

"So you could give it to him when he's less busy-"

*WHACK!*

Gus spun in place for a second or two before he hit the ground, just in time for Luz to arrive and help him get up.

"Gus! Are you alright?!"

"Yeah, believe it or not, I've been through worse," Gus sighed. "Anyway, what's up with Emira?"

"She's got a stick in her rump for all I know," Luz shrugged. "What I'm more concerned about is what they have planned for later. They mentioned something about there being a secret in the library that they want to check out, and knowing them, it can't be good."

"Knowing them?" Gus repeated with a skeptical eyebrow. "Are you sure their intentions are as bad as they seem?"

Luz opened her mouth, but just as quickly closed it. She decided to wait until the twins themselves showed what they were looking for before saying or doing anything else...

And, to her relief, this came once closing hours came for the library, since while Emira checked the books were all in order, Edric took Luz and Gus to a particular bookshelf.

"This could be potentially dangerous, Gus," Luz told the boy. "You don't have to come with us."

"You're right, I don't have to come with you: I want to!" Gus replied with a smile. "So, anyway, Edric, what are we looking for?"

Edric flashed a smile and pulled a book on the shelf, causing it to open and reveal a passage within. The trio walked inside, and they were stunned: they were in the middle of a long, nearly empty corridor surrounded by floating books, bookshelves, and other random stuff, kinda like if a magical writer threw a temper tantrum with gravity magic.

"Whoa, this place is amazing!" Gus chirped. "But also kinda confusing. Where are we?"

"Azura's workplace."

The group turned around, and saw Emira walking forward, the passage closing right behind her as she stopped and she and Luz exchanged stern looks.

"Edric and I, uh, will start looking around," Gus said, Edric nodding in agreement as both guys walked away. "You girls sort things out."

The boys ran deeper inside the place, and Luz slowly walked towards Emira, who stood unfazed.

"What do you mean this is Azura's workplace? Azura the Good Witch?"

"The very same one," Emira smiled. "That fictional character you and Mittens love so much? She was very much real, and this is the place where she wrote her books."

Luz stopped and looked around for a moment, only stopping once she shook her head and snapped:

"And why are we here?!"

"Elementary, dear Human; Azura didn't just create the book series," Emira walked towards Luz. "She created the glyphs! The types of magic! And even the Boiling Isles themselves!"

Luz took a step back, but she quickly shook it off.

"You're lying!"

Emira reached for her back and took out a certain book King read a long time ago.

The Unauthorized History of the Boiling Isles.

"See it for yourself."

Luz snatched the book and read it... and what she saw left her stunned. Though not stunned enough to not push Emira back when she tried to walk past her.

"E-Even if this is true, there's no way I'm letting you get anywhere close to the books! Whatever you have planned, it can't be good!"

"Human-"

"You're never up to any good!" Luz snapped, taking out a few of her glyphs. "Amity said so!"

"Ugh, Mittens said this, Mittens said that," Emira growled as she began floating. "When are you going to stop taking her words at face value?!"

Luz grimaced as Emira went up, and light blue energy surrounded her.

"But fine, if you won't let me through..."

Before long, a giant spectral construct resembling Emira emerged, opening its glowing eyes as she hissed, with an echoing voice:

"Then I'll just have to get past you myself!"



"Odalia really is something else."

Those words didn't give Amity much hope as the Queen of the Underworld inspected the eye symbol, which she forced to not vanish from Amity's forehead.

"There's no denying it; this eye's a symbol of Mind Magic being at play," Persephone folded her arms. "And Odalia's the only member of the Blight family I know who can use Mind Magic."

"Of course Mom's behind this," Amity raised her arms in frustration. "She's always behind something!"

"Can you do something about this, Mom?" Skara asked, catching the woman's attention. "Like, remove it, like mine?"

"Wait, you had the same eye symbol, too?" Amity asked with surprise. "When did that happen?"

"You'll find out another time, for now, let's focus on the current problem," Persephone folded her arms. "A problem that, I'm afraid, I can't just remove like I did Skara's symbol. See, Mind Magic is rather specific; depending on how vague or detailed it is, the damage it can do can be minimal, or catastrophic. But one thing that stays consistent is that the only one who can remove the symbol no problem, and return the memories back to normal, is the very same person who casted the spell."

"So wait, if that's how it works, and you were the one who removed Skara's symbol..." Amity gasped and pointed at Persephone. "You used Mind Magic on her!"

Persephone opened her eyes and shot a cold glare at Amity, hissing:

"Stop pointing me, right now."

Amity quickly obliged. "A-Anyway, you said that's the only foolproof way to remove the eye. Are there any other methods we could use? Because let's be real here, Mom's never gotta remove this curse."

"It's not so much a curse as it is a very damaging form of magic," Skara explained, only to pause. "Which is kinda the same thing, isn't it?"

"Hmm, well there's a method we could use, but it's rather risky," Persephone lowered her eyelids. "Especially if the Inner Self has been corrupted."

Amity's eyes widened. "Corrupted?!"

"If enough focus or details are added before using Mind Magic, the Inner Self, who protects the mind, will be slowly but surely corrupted into becoming nothing more than an enforcer of the memories the magic implants on the affected."

"So, wait," Skara raised an eyebrow. "Wouldn't that mean my Inner Self would've been corrupted too?"

"The details I used for your mental block were simple: "you're not the princess of the Boiling Underworld, you're a survivor of it, and you'll never return." Keeping things simple like that will keep the Inner Self safe," Persephone explained. "It's only when too many details and specifics are added does the Inner Self become corrupted."

"And Mom's a very well known perfectionist..." Amity grimaced. "This is gonna be rough."

Skara eyed Amity sympathetically, then asked her mother:

"What do we need to do to deal with the symbol-"

"I'm sorry, we? Plural?" Amity folded her arms. "You're not coming along with me on this one."

"What?! Why not?!"

"Because I've already put you through enough pain as it is," Amity lowered her head. "Just count the ways: I blamed you for Boscha's crimes, broke your arm, insulted your best friend on your face, insulted and demeaned you for years, shoved an icicle through your face in an event people just won't shut up about..."

Amity paused, took a deep breath, then stated:

"I... I don't want to hurt you anymore... and I don't want to drag you into my problems either. I don't want to drag anybody into my problems. This is something I have to do myself."

Skara's eyes widened, and she put her hand on Amity's shoulder... moments before she squeaked:

"Wait a minute, I just mentioned all the ways I hurt you to your mother!"

"You certainly did," Persephone stated, chuckling as Amity hid behind Skara's wings. "But, credit where credit is due, I think it's nice you're insisting on taking on this problem alone. That's something I don't think any of the Blights would do: not your siblings, definitely not Odalia, and not... Alador..."

Persephone lowered her head and closed her eyes, taking a deep breath before she shook her head.

"Nevermind. In order to deal with this issue, you must enter your mind and either defeat the Inner Self, or unlock the source memory that's been blocked off to ensure the illusion remains."

"Well, not to brag, but if the Inner Self is anywhere near as strong as me, the second option is the only one I can do," Amity frowned. "But what happens if I'm defeated? What happens if I'm killed?!"

"Then you'll return to reality with any non-fatal injuries you've suffered. Oh, and the Mind Magic will grow stronger, but that's to be expected." Persephone raised her index finger. "Anyway, are you ready to begin?"

Amity stared at Persephone for a moment, furrowed her brow, and nodded before Persephone poked her forehead, causing her to go unconscious.

As for Amity, she soon found herself in the middle of her Memory Lane, surrounded by many memories that she now found bitter.

"Alright, if I was a memory that served as the pedestal for Mind Magic to cause me to believe Boscha and Skara are terrible people and keep bothering them even when they're not doing anything to me, where would I be?"

"Locked away, never to be found."

Amity slowly turned around, and to her shock, she saw a taller version of herself floating down, donning the Oracle track uniform and sporting a full head of green hair... only for a closer look to reveal who they actually looked like.

"Inner Me... no, wait, Mom?!"


Edric and Gus searched the bookshelves as fast and frantically as they could, all while the battle between Luz and Emira raged behind them.

"What are we looking for, again?!" Gus exclaimed.

"A book about all known types of magic!" Edric answered. "If there's a book that can help us reach Mittens, it's that one!"

*BOOM!*

A bookshelf fell on top of Edric, with some of the books catching Gus' attention... including one with a peculiar cover.

"I... I think I found it!"

Edric jumped out of the sea of books and looked at the one Gus held. While another explosion caused him to lose his balance, he still got enough of a good look to verify it was the book they were looking for.

"Alright, great!" Edric reached for his back and took out a pen and some papers. "Now, give me a few seconds and we'll be ready to stop Emira and Luz's fight!"

Gus nodded, and looked worriedly at the fight:

The giant Emira construct swung her fist down at Luz, whose shoes had gained tiny bat wings that allowed her to fly and Dodge most of her attacks.

Eventually, once she managed to get close enough, she threw several explosion glyphs at Emira's face, the Blight barely having time to look shocked before they exploded, sending her plummeting to the ground and destroying her construct.

"Have you had enough?!" Luz snapped as she flew down. "Or do you still want to fight?!"

Emira slowly stood up, chuckling as she did.

"What's so funny?!"

"I think I know why you're buying Mittens' words..." Emira smiled. "You're compensating!"

Luz looked elsewhere as Emira continued:

"You were there when she got kidnapped, and you couldn't do anything about it! You two dated for a while, and yet you never took the lead! The only reason you're having a problem with us, is because you think being more proactive and protective of her now that she's not here's going to solve anything! And since we couldn't help her either-"

"You didn't even try to save her!" Luz yelled, tears on her eyes. "You just stood there slackjawed while Amirani took her away! If you really loved her like I do, you would've done something!"

Emira looked honestly shocked for a moment, a couple tears even forming on her eyes before she wordlessly created a light blue sword, and gripped it.

Luz grabbed her glyph, and both of them raced towards each other...

"THAT'S ENOUGH!"

Edric and Gus stood between the girls and unleashed the glyphs on them, trapping the duo inside transparent light cubes.

"No! My own glyphs, used against me!" Luz cried as she slammed her fists against the walls. "Once I find a way out of here, I'm totally adding that glyph to my collection!"

"Ugh, Edric, what's the meaning of this!?" Emira snapped, also trying her hardest to break free from the cube. "And what's the grade skipping twerp doing with you?!"

"Emira, just... just stop. Just shut up for one second and listen!" Edric yelled at his twin sister. "And you do the same, Luz!"

"What are you talking about!?" Luz responded. "I can listen just fine-"

"No you can't! Neither of you can!" Gus snapped. "While Edric and I were looking for something that could help us, you stood behind and fought!"

"Because this little brat's being completely unreasonable!" Emira snapped. "She's just taking Amity's words for everything and painting us as the bad guys!"

"Because you are the bad guys to Amity!" Luz retorted. "If that wasn't the case, she would've told me! Amity would never lie to me!"

"Then how about we check that for ourselves?"

The girls looked down, and saw Gus raise the book he found, titled:

The Magic of the Boiling Isles


Amity screamed as she ran as fast and far away as she could, spectral creatures chasing after her, roaring as they swatted memories away.

And controlling them was Inner Amity, holding a crystal ball on her hands.

"Come on, Amity, stop running away!" the Inner Self said in a mocking tone. "Listen to me for once. After all, mother knows best!"

Amity rolled behind a memory before the spectral creatures swatted it away and grabbed her. Naturally, Amity struggled to get out of the monster's grasp before Inner Amity walked to her, and snapped her fingers, returning the creatures back to the crystal ball... except for the arm keeping Amity hostage.

"Let me go!"

"Oh sure, I'm totally gonna do that," Inner Amity scoffed. "I'm just going to bring the arm back to the crystal ball, and let you ruin everything just to make Skara and Boscha happy!"

"This isn't about making anyone happy!" Amity snapped. "This is about getting rid of one of the biggest plagues that Mom left me saddled with!"

Inner Amity narrowed her eyes and made the arm lean Amity closer to her.

"Boscha is a terrible person! So is Skara! You'd believe the same thing even if Mind Magic wasn't involved-"

"Then why would Mom use it in the first place!? Why use Mind Magic to force me to think both of them were terrible if I'd just come to the same conclusion on my own!?"

Inner Amity flinched, opening her mouth before Amity added:

"I can't trust anything I know about Skara anymore! I can't trust anything I know about Boscha anymore! And you know why!? Because as long as this stupid Mind Magic nonsense is plaguing me, anything I know about them could be true, or it could be another fabrication to make them seem worse than they already are! And I can't even keep it to myself because I feel compelled to bring up their mistakes! To spit in their general direction! To put them through the wringer just for existing!"

"Everything that happens to them is what they had a long time coming," Inner Amity smirked. "And seeing as they've always been bullies, why should you care about them?"

"Because in indulging in all of this nonsense, I almost killed my own sister!"

Inner Amity raised an eyebrow. "What does Emira have to do with this-"

"I'M TALKING ABOUT SKARA!"

Amity's voice echoed across the mental void, Inner Amity looking indiferent as Amity added:

"Everything I did to her was already pretty bad, but knowing she's my sister makes everything even worse! I demeaned her! Bullied her! Crippled her, even! And I wouldn't have gone to such lengths if it hadn't been for this stupid Mind Magic!"

At that, Inner Amity began laughing, which quickly got on Amity's nerves.

"What's so funny!?"

Inner Amity shook her head, then dropped Amity on the ground.

"You really think you hate her... that you hate Boscha... because the Mind Magic's making you hate them?"

Inner Amity snapped her fingers, and the entire realm changed, now showing the interior of the Blight home.

"I don't want to see Warden Wrath's daughter!"

The voice sent chills down Amity's spine, as she slowly turned around to see...

A younger version of herself.

"Amity, I assure you it won't take long," Alador said while adjusting Amity's dress. "They'll come over for tea, we'll chat for a bit, and you two will get to know each other."

Amity looked elsewhere. "I could do any of those things with Willow, too."

"We've already been over this, young lady: the Parks aren't high enough in the heriarchy to justify a Blight and a Park hanging out together," Alador stood up and adjusted his bowtie. "You know what your mother always says: a Blight should only associate with the highest-"

*WHACK!*

"Ow, my shin!" Alador cried, hopping up and down while grabbing his foot. "Listen up, young lady! You're gonna meet Skara and you're going to enjoy her company! Understood!?"

Amity folded her arms, took a deep breath, and held it.

"Come on, Amity, seriously?"

*DING DONG!*

Alador walked to the door and opened it, Warden Wrath and Skara standing outside before coming in.

"Hello, and welcome to the Blight Manor, Warden Wrath," Alador told the man. "And welcome to you too-"

But once he looked down, Skara was nowhere to be found.

"-Skara?"

"PFFFFT!"

The adults turned around, and saw Skara giggling while poking Amity's cheeks, causing her to blow a raspberry while flailing her arms.

Luckily, Alador and Warden Wrath went to their side and stopped them before they got into a fight.

"Skara, don't poke her cheeks like that!" Warden Wrath told Skara as he pulled her back. "You're gonna make her mad."

"Really?" Skara tilted her head. "But you like it when I do it with you."

"Yeah, but this girl isn't me, is she?"

Skara hummed and turned back to Amity with a smile.

"Okay, let's try again," Alador sighed. "Greetings, Skara. I'm Alador, and this is my daughter... Amity."

Amity blew a raspberry at Skara and clung to Alador's leg, just in time for Memory Lane to turn back to normal as Inner Amity said:

"You never liked Skara. From the very beginning you saw her as a pain. A nuisance. Somebody who was trying to take the place that in yours eyes Willow, and only Willow, deserved."

"I..." Amity shivered. "I-I-"

"You don't have any moral high ground here. You can't use Skara being your sister as an excuse to forget how much you hated her. And you, most definitely, can't use Mind Magic as an excuse for your behavior."

Inner Amity grabbed Amity's chin and made her look at her.

"Because Mind Magic might be able to make fake memories, but it's primary function... it's main power... is to amplify what is already there."

Amity began breathing heavily as she diverted her eyes everywhere, trying to find something positive about the situation... until she spotted a familiar locked memory.

"Why is that memory locked?"

Inner Amity turned around, and Amity took this as the chance to kick her shin and run away.

"Some things never change, huh!?"

Inner Amity grabbed her crystal ball and summoned the spectral creatures to chase after Amity, managing to reach her before she could unlock the memory...

Only for Amity to roll away before they swiped their claws, striking and destroying the chains covering the memory.

Inner Amity dropped her crystal ball in horror. "No!"

Amity, meanwhile, raised her fist and chirped, "Yes!"

And soon after that, the memory engulfed the Memory Lane, transforming it into a forest, where the younger Amity met with a younger version of Boscha, who had her palm open with a fireball on it.

"And that's how you summon fire," she said before clenching her fist, extinguishing the fireball. "Now you try!"

"I'm not sure about this," Amity folded her arms and raised an eyebrow. "Isn't your third eye the source of your firepower?"

"I mean, yeah, and there's no way the fire you'll make will be comparable to mine, but it doesn't have to be!" Boscha put a hand on Amity's shoulder. "Anybody can learn elemental magic. You just need to give it a shot!"

Amity hummed as Boscha walked to her side.

"Now come on, try it out."

Amity paused for a moment before she opened her palm and focused, closing her eyes while taking a deep breath.

A purple firecracker happened, startling the brunette.

"Okay, that's a good start. Try again."

Amity took another deep breath and looked at her palm, with a couple more firecrackers happening before a purple fireball materialized from her palm, the Blight girl gasping in surprise before she snapped her fingers, extinguishing the fireball in an instant.

"That's it, Amity!" Boscha chirped. "You did it!"

"Y-Yeah..." Amity snapped her fingers again, and the fireball materialized again. "I did!"

With another snap of her fingers, the fireball vanished, and Amity kept snapping her fingers, generating and dissipating the fireball as Boscha backed away and pocketed her hands.

"Whoa there, hold your griffin! Calm down before you burn the forest down, Amity Calamity!"

Amity stopped messing with her fireball, and turned to Boscha. But instead of looking angry, she looked amused.

"What did you call me?!"

"Amity Calamity!" Boscha repeated jokingly.

"Call me that again!" Amity clenched her fists and shook them, all while holding back a giggle. "I dare you!"

"Amity-"

"I'm warning you!"

Amity and Boscha exchanged looks of bemusement for a while, until the latter exclaimed:

"Calamity!"

"You fool! You've unleashed my unbridled rage!" Amity opened her palm and summoned a pair of fireballs. "Now I shall strike you down with the power of a thousand suns!"

Boscha laughed as she ran away... only to crash into someone and drop to the ground.

"S-S-Sorry!"

Amity ran to Boscha's side, but froze once she recognized the person the redhead had crashed into.

Once Boscha stood up, she got a better look: it was a plump witch with dark hair and a pair of glasses, wearing a green dress with some leafs and twigs on her hair.

This girl, was none other than Willow Park.

"Oh, Amity?" Willow asked. "What are you doing here?"

"You know each other?" Boscha asked.

"Boscha, this is Willow Park, one of the first real friends I ever had," Amity said, Boscha simply saying "ouch" and chuckling in response. "Willow, this is Boscha Urodela, a... friend, my parents introduced me to."

"Heya!" Boscha said, flashing a little smile.

"Uh, hi," Willow greeted while adjusting her glasses. "I'm sorry for crashing into you. I was looking for a place to bury this flower my parents gave me."

Willow took out the flower, which was so trampled and malnourished only the stem and a few petals left.

"Good lord," Amity said. "What happened to it?"

"A Mandragora trampled it," Willow frowned. "That's what happened."

"Well dang, that sucks," Boscha grinned. "Luckily, I know how to fix this!"

Boscha grabbed the remains of the flower, put her palms together, and breathed fire into it, startling the duo.

However, once Boscha opened her palms, they saw the flower was back to normal, changing their shock to amazement.

"How did you do that?!" Willow asked as Boscha put the flower on her head.

"The Fires of the Salamander can do some crazy things, like bringing things back to life," Boscha boasted. "But most importantly, your flower's back to normal, and it looks amazing on your hair!"

Willow blushed and looked elsewhere. "Thanks... well, I should get going-"

"Hey, hold your griffin!" Boscha stated before grabbing Willow's arm. "What's the rush? Come play with us!"

Willow and Amity winced, and asked in unison:

"Wait, you don't mind?"

"Why would I? Any friend of Amity's a friend of mine," Boscha scratched her chin. "Besides, I'd like to try something out with your help..."

A few seconds later, Willow used her Plant magic to summon vines from the ground... then created a rope with them and handed one end to Amity, and the other end to Boscha, Willow standing in the middle until they began moving the rope up and down.

And as the trio began having fun, the present Amity took a deep breath and flashed a pleased smile, just in time for Inner Amity to go to her side and look at the scene in shock.

They kept staring for a moment, Inner Amity slowly losing her frown as her being glitched, before fading away with a little smile on her face.

"Amity."

Of course, the levity of the scene vanished as soon as everybody turned around and saw Odalia standing nearby, holding a parasol and sporting a stern expression as she hissed:

"It's time to go home."

The younger Amity stopped moving the rope, and dropped it, bidding farewell to both Boscha and Willow as she walked to her mother's side.

And as the pair walked away, so did the present day Amity. She had no reason to stay there, after all.

She had seen all she needed to see.



Meanwhile, back in reality, Amity woke up just as the eye symbol dissipated into nothing.

"Amity, you did it!" Skara chirped, getting the Blight's attention. "The symbol's gone!"

Amity took a deep breath, then rubbed her forehead while saying wearily:

"Thank goodness..."

Skara frowned. "Is something wrong, Amity?"

"It's common to feel a little overwhelmed and exhausted after dealing with Mind Magic," Persephone spoke. "You should probably go rest right now. The sooner you take a breather, the faster you'll feel better."

"Yeah... yeah, I'm gonna do that," Amity nodded. "But first... you got anything here that can remove hair dye?"

Persephone raised an eyebrow, and Skara just tilted her head in confusion while Amity looked at a mirror.

A mirror that showed her the same mostly-greenette she's been for most of her life. A look that she now found difficult to look at.

"To make a long story short... I think It's time I get a makeover."

Chapter Text

I might be updating this story a little bit early, but hey, It's about dang time we returned to the Train!

Now, don't fret, we're not out of the Boiling Isles yet: we still need to address a few things in order to setup the next arc.

Because after so long, we're finally going to the Cupid Bee Car! I bet that's gonna be a fun little arc where nothing bad happens!

Hahaha! Ahahaha! Haha... ha...

Ha.

Anyway, before we begin, I'd just like to apologize for the lack of Lumity content in this story. I know you probably expected a little bit more given how early I set them up together.

Now, good news is, I added a little date between Luz and Amity in chapter 6, so there's a bit more Lumity for you fans.

The bad news is that we'll have to deal with the Blights first before I can work on adding more Lumity.

Because as everyone knows, Lumity's love, Lumity's life.

I mean, it's not like this is a crossover story with multiple layers that follows one of the most hated characters in Owl House and her quest to earn redemption after years of being a piece of shit! Or a couple of subplots regarding the minor characters the show otherwise might not have time to focus on.

It's all about Lumity!

Psst, I'm only trying to make a joke about the fact Lumity seems to be such a rage that other types of stories seem to be lacking in content in comparison, I'm not trying to attack anybody here.

Anyway, this is getting awkward, so let's switch gears to something else: the rewrites.

It's no secret, I think, that I rewrote this story's chapters multiple times before. Either adding foreshadowing, fixing grammatical errors, or even adding bits that I originally wanted to add to a chapter but couldn't find the time to.

Sadly, I bring this up because I want to let you know I won't be able to rewrite the story for a while. I gotta focus on getting the main story going, and the more I focus on foreshadowing everything, the less time I can spend actually moving the plot forward.

Anyhow, after this chapter comes another one set on the Boiling Isles, and then, hopefully, the beginning of the Cupid Bee Car begins!

Before we go on, I'd like to remind that this story's got a TV Tropes page that, while already pretty big, could still use some work in some areas, so any help you can provide would be appreciates.

And now, enough stalling! Let's-a go!


Back where we left off, Amity dumped her head on a tub filled with water and hair dye remover, spending a few seconds inside it as the water slowly turned green.

Once she finished, she took her head out, and took a deep breath as Skara flapped her wings to dry her.

With that done, Amity faced the mirror once more, now sporting a full head of brown hair.

Her natural hair color.

"There," she smiled as Skara's avian Palisman flew and landed on her head. "Much better."

"Hmm, I don't know," Skara walked to Amity's side and looked at the reflection. "I feel like we could do a little better."

Amity raised an eyebrow. "How so?"

"Well, think of it like this: removing your hair dye and going back to your natural hair color is pretty rebellious," Skara scratched her chin. "But what if you dyed your hair another color? Maybe a color you really wanted to dye it, but Odalia never let you."

Amity hummed and scratched her chin... until the Palisman flew up, and then went to and grabbed a purple hair dye with its beak, bringing a smile to the girls.

"Your Palisman's awesome, Skara."

"I know, right?"


Meanwhile, with Boa and the groups, they stood in the middle of a field positively stacked with Keyblades stuck on the bladed end.

The remnant of Boscha's personality extended her hand forward, closed her eyes and focused, at which point her keyblade emerged.

It had an ordinary handle, except for the fact it resembled a lion about to bite down its prey, but the blade was covered in reptillian scales, with the chain resembling a very slender reptillian tail ending on a fireball.

"This, is how you summon a Keyblade," Boa answered, placing the weapon over her shoulder. "Now, give it a shot."

The groups nodded and extended their hands forward to focus. Even Zenith Fantasy tried it.

Nevertheless, as the groups tried to summon their Keyblades, Boa took a deep breath and walked to one of the Keyblades, sitting on top of it while she looked at the distance with a melancholic look.

"What's wrong, Boa?"

The girl turned around and saw the floating crystal ball known as Chris flying next to her, sporting a concerned smile.

Boa took another deep breath and shook her head. "It's just... I'm worried about something."

"And that would be?"

Boa looked at the number of her palm. "I need to get my number down as much as possible before Boscha's revived, but to do so I have to try make amends with those she wronged. And that's... I don't know if I can do that."

Chris hummed, then looked at the sunset. "Things won't change if you don't give it a try."

"It's not about whether things will change if I try or not, I know I have to try," Boa rubbed her forehead. "It's just that Boscha... a lot of bad things were done, and a lot of people were hurt. Trying to get their forgiveness is gonna be... difficult."

"Nobody said this journey would be easy," Chris smiled. "But nobody said you had to take it alone, either. We're here to help you, even if some of us have a little trouble getting along."

The duo looked back to see Atticus barking at Lindsay while Alex sat on his back.

"Halt, your highness!" Alex exclaimed, brandishing his Keyblade, a simplistic one whose blade resembled a surfboard that had a few shark bites on it, against Lindsay. "The king has spoken! So it is I and I alone who shall ride him!"

"But that's totally unfair!" Lindsay whined. "We all saved Hazy from certain death! We should all get a chance to ride Atticus!"

"Guys, please, calm down!" Hazy said, standing in between the pair. "Let's focus on training with our Keyblades, okay?"

"Says the only one of us who doesn't have a Keyblade," Lindsay growled, right before Lucy grabbed smacked her with her Keyblade. "Ow!"

"Hazy's right, you know?" Lucy remarked as she brandished her Keyblade, a red and white one with a rocky handle with phoenix wings, and a glowing blade that resembled magma. "We should focus on training our Keyblades as much as possible."

"Ohohoho, you agree with Hazy, don't you?" Lindsay brandished her own Keyblade, a green one whose handle and blade didn't even seem to be connected, the latter floating in place while green winds circled it. "Well, I'm gonna make you sorry you agreed."

And as the duo began to fight, Boa chuckled at the sight, taking a deep breath as Chris added:

"Besides, we should focus on the present: there's going to be a ball at the Cupid Bee Car, and you know who we'll find there."

Boa lowered her eyelids. "The Innocence."

"And if we want to be able to beat her and help her get her number down, we need to learn how to use the Keyblades," Chris narrowed his eyes with determination. "That's the only way we'll be able to do anything against her."

"Hmm, that's true," Boa looked at her Keyblade. "I pity the fool who tries to fight her without one of these."


Louise screamed at the top of her lungs as she launched every spell she could muster at her assailant: fire, water, earth, lighting, light, kitchen sink, she threw absolutely everything she could muster.

Even Mettaton helped by also throwing everything he could: missiles, explosives, you name it, he threw it.

And yet, once the smoke dissipated, the source of their decision to unleash their entire stock on magic and technology stood unharmed...

And it was The Innocence, bruised and coughing while waving her hand, and wearing a yellow, tattered and burnt dress with triangle symbols all around.

"Aw man!" she cried while looking at her dress. "My dress got ruined."

"You're kidding me, we threw everything we could at her, and she's not even hurt?!" Louise exclaimed in disbelief. "What the hell is she!?"

"Language, darling!" Mettaton chided. "There's a child here!"

"The question still stands! What is she?!"

"A Soul Denizen."

The pinkette squeaked and jumped onto Mettaton's arms, just in time for the source of the voice to reveal themselves: the Master of Masters.

"Believe me, you did all you could," he said as he approached The Innocence. "But whether you gave it your all or not, it wouldn't have made a difference. A Soul Denizen can only be meaningfully hurt by a Keyblade."

Once he reached the girl, he grabbed her and lifted her.

"Now, Innocence, what are you doing here outside the Cupid Bee Car? I told you to stay there."

The Innocence reached for her back, and took out a pair of invitations to the Cupid Bee Car, which promptly crumbled to dust.

"I was told to come here to deliver some invitations to the Car, but as soon as these two saw me, they screamed and attacked me. The pink girl mostly."

The Master of Masters faced the duo, and while his cloak hid his expression, he clearly looked at them with disapproval.

"Well, what did you expect us to do?!" Louise snapped as she hopped off Mettaton's arms. "That's the Lion of Cremation! One of the few Passengers with enough firepower to destroy a Car! We needed to get rid of her before she killed us!"

"Ugh, not this again," the Master of Masters groaned. "Fine, let me explain it to you: what we're looking at here is not the Lion of Cremation, but a living embodiment of a piece of her soul. This, is what is known as a Soul Denizen."

"Oh, okay, so all of the previous Passengers who were completely innocent don't get to live if they die, but the Lion of Cremation, the one Passenger who deserves to die and never come back, gets that luxury?" Louise growled. "I know the Train's logic is completely bonkers, but even you have to admit that's completely unfair."

The Innocence hugged the Master of Masters harder. "I don't like the pink girl. She's scary."

"Scary?!" Louise gripped her wand. "Oh I'm about to show you how scary I can be!"

Mettaton quickly wrapped Louise in a net. "It might be for the better that we don't get involved in a fight we can't win."

"You don't know that!"

"Anyway, as I was saying, a Soul Denizen is created to be resillient against most types of damage, in order to ensure that they're not killed off before they can accomplish their purpose," the Master of Masters turned to The Innocence. "For if even one of them is killed before the Passenger's issues can be dealt with, then the Passenger runs the risk of being killed for good, forever denied a second chance."

"Which, again, is something the Lion of Cremation totally deserves!" Louise yelled. "Like, seriously, what's the problem here!?"

The Master of Masters took a deep, weary breath, and responded as a portal door opened:

"The problem is that I'm wasting my time trying to convince a Hopeless Passenger. Come on, Innocence, let's get outta here."

"I want ice cream!"

"Sure, how about some sea salt ice cream?"

"That sounds nasty. I wanna try it!"

The Master of Masters chuckled as the duo walked through the door, leaving just as Mettaton released her and walked away himself.

"Who the hell does he think he is!? First he claims the Lion of Cremation deserves this nonsense, and now he calls me a Hopeless Passenger!?" Louise she yelled. "He needs a reality check ASAP!"

"And I need to go somewhere else," Mettaton sighed. "Bye-bye."

"Sure, go away, just like everyone else!" Louise hissed. "If I'm gonna have a partner, it has to be someone who understands the true danger of the Lion of Cremation!"

Then, she got an idea as a portal door opened.

"Someone who not only sees that she doesn't deserve a second chance, but that has enough power to beat her..."

The door opened, and it lead to the Lustrous Car, where Bort sat on the ground while sharpening their sword.

And once she saw them, Louise gained a devious smile.

"That's the ticket..."


"Come on, Goh! Pick up the pace!"

Peacock hopped through the streets filled with skulls as Goh tried to follow her, throwing away several skulls in the process.

"Cut me some slack, Peacock! I'm not used to walking across streets filled with skulls!" Goh whined, a chill going down his spine as he added. "And I really hope I never say something as messed up as that again."

"Shut your trap and keep moving!" Peacock snickered. "We'll be there soon, I promise!"

And so, Goh rolled his eyes and kept following the cartoony Passenger... until they reached it.

A floating skull surrounded by blue flames.

"Eerie..."

"I present you, Goh, the Skull Heart!" Peacock stated with a grin. "A replica of the same one from my world. An artifact capable of granting wishes, at the cost of the wisher causing mayhem on its behalf. And for some bizarre reason, your friend seems to be interested in it, asked me if I knew where it was and all that."

"But, if she asked you about the Skull Heart, and there's a copy of it here, why show it to me? Why not show it to her?"

"Because if I had done so, chances are high that she would've become the next Skullgirl."

Goh flinched. "Really?"

Peacock chuckled and took out a cigarette, which she lit up as she explained:

"The Skull Heart has the power to transform any girl into a being of ultimate destruction known as the Skullgirl. To this end, it has the power to tempt any girl foolish enough to get close to it with messages only they can hear. But that's the thing: it only works on girls."

"And why does it work like that?" Goh pondered out loud.

"Doesn't matter, all that matters is that if Chloe ever got close to this thing, she'd be tempted to take it and become the next Skullgirl," Peacock eyed Goh. "But if a guy like you got close to it, nothing would happen. I mean, just from this sight alone, do you wanna grab it?"

"No, I just wanna stay as far away from it as possible."

"Exactly! You can't be tempted by the Skull Heart," Peacock smirked. "Just like how I can't be tempted due to already being the strongest there is!"

Peacock laughed in a haughty manner for a few seconds, before she turned serious.

"That's the reason why no female entity, Passenger or Denizen, should ever get close to this thing," she turned to Goh again. "And I need your help to ensure Chloe doesn't try to get it."

Goh grabbed his arm and looked elsewhere. "I dunno, I don't feel comfortable keeping secrets to Chloe."

"Would you rather have her become an engine of destruction that has to be killed? Because let me be blunt; every Passenger and Denizen who's every worn the Skull Heart before, has succumbed to its corrupting power and become a madman bent on destroying everything."

"Chloe wouldn't fall so easily!" Goh stated, stomping the ground. "She's strong-willed and... and kind! She wouldn't listen to what that thing has to say!"

"Kid, I've seen people like Chloe before. I've trained people like Chloe before. And the same thing happened to all of them after they got their hands on the Skull Heart: they went mad with power, and they had to be killed."

Goh fell silent, biting his lip as Peacock added:

"Trust Chloe all you want. Believe she's some kind of incorruptible entity. I, meanwhile, am not risking a Skullgirl emerging for the thirteenth time." then, she grinned. "And that's where you come in: I need you to keep Chloe's mind off the Skull Heart for as long as possible. Go on a date with her, buy her lunch, or just talk to her; anything will suffice, so long as the Skull Heart becomes the last thing on her mind."

Goh looked back at the floating heart. "And how do I do that?"

Peacock took off her hat, and promptly took out a pair of invitations to the Cupid Bee Car.

"A cloaked weirdo handed these to me and told me to go to the Cupid Bee Car. Chloe said she was gonna go there too, therefore, if you two go together, you can have a good time at the ball and take some weight off your shoulders!"

Goh raised a skeptical eyebrow. "Isn't Chloe going there for something important?"

"She is, but so are we... if you accept, that is."

Goh hummed as he thought about it, though his decision became easier when he saw Peacock's grin, a grin that told him that if he didn't come, then Peacock would find some other schmuck to come with her.

So, he snatched an invitation.


Hazel really didn't want to return to the Chrome Car. She really didn't. But she had no choice, especially once she told Amelia the truth:

You're taking the Apex to the Chrome Car, right now! I mean, you discovered a way to merge with the Chrome Car reflections and you didn't tell me until now!?

"Well, maybe if you actually paid attention to me for one second instead of the dumb screens, you would've found out about this sooner!"

Hazel's voice echoing in the Car made her realize she just said that out loud, causing the Apex kids to look at her with raised eyebrows.

"What are you looking at!?" she barked at the top of her lungs. "Keep focusing on your reflections and don't even think about talking to me until you manage to merge with them!"

"Yes, ma'am!"

Hazel winced at being called "ma'am", but she quickly shrugged it off and sat down, rubbing her forehead while she took a deep breath.

"You seem stressed."

Hazel groaned and turned to see the Master of Masters sitting next to her, with a notable lack of a reflection underneath him.

"And you seem to be lacking in the reflection department."

"Touche," he chuckled. "Now, speaking seriously, what's on your mind?"

"What's not on my mind?" Hazel growled, whispering so the rest of the Apex wouldn't hear her. "One of my abilities was discovered, and in trying to keep my identity a secret, I have to act as a babysitter for these brats, and show them how to do what I did."

"And do you know how you merged with your reflection?"

"Pfft, I wish! It was a total accident!" Hazel looked in the distance. "Just like this newcomer brat, Sara Dyktalis was her name, I think."

The Master of Masters turned around, and saw a Blonde girl with pigtails exchanging funny faces with her reflection.

"There's no way in hell any of these idiots are gonna merge with their reflections," Hazel put her arms behind her head. "And the worst part of it is, I could be using this wasted time on hunting down Zenith Fantasy!"

The Master of Masters hummed. "Why is it so important for you to take out this Zenith Fantasy group?"

"Well, for starters, they pissed me off," Hazel spoke with a tone implying she honestly believed that was a good reason. "Secondly, Hazel Hughes is with them. All they need to do is find Amelia and show her that kid and bam! My plan falls apart and Amelia realizes I've been lying all along! The faster I take her out of the picture, the faster I can relax."

The Master of Masters hummed again, this time reaching for his pockets as he added:

"Well, our plan does hinge on the fact that you and Amelia develop a bond. And if she finds out your true identity, then I don't doubt she'll try to get rid of you."

"Yeah, because I'm not her perfect little husband, Alrick!" Hazel growled. "She just won't shut up about him! Oh, he was so great! Oh, he was taken away from me too early! Like, lady, I don't give two flying sh-"

The Master of Masters quickly shoved what he had on his pocket on Hazel's mouth, which turned out to be an invitation to the Cupid Bee Car.

"I don't want to endanger a child, but the same time I don't want Amelia to become a Hopeless Passenger. Therefore, drastic situations require drastic measures."

Hazel took out the invitation and read it. "So, Zenith Fantasy will be at this ball?"

"Mhm."

Hazel raised an eyebrow. "And Hazel Hughes will be there?"

"They call her Hazy now-"

"Will she be there, or not?"

The Master of Masters nodded, bringing a sadistic smile on Hazel's face.

"Perfect. Just perfect. Now all I need is for one of these idiots to do the impossible and-"

"I merged with my reflection!"

Hazel turned around, and saw Amanda, the redheaded girl from before, running up to her with her forearms coated in metal, and a notable lack of a reflection.

"W-Wait, really?"

"Yeah!" Amanda chirped as Hazel took a closer look. "I don't know what I did, but I managed to merge with it!"

Hazel stared at the coated arms in disbelief, which eventually caused Amanda to grow concerned.

"Hazel?"

She formed a smile and shook her head.

"Great work, Amanda! Great... great work!" then she snapped her fingers. "I know! Let me teach you now how to control the coating!"

"Alright!"

"And the rest of you!" Hazel exclaimed at the rest of the Apex. "Get moving and merge with your reflections already! We don't have all day!"

"Yes, ma'am!"

Hazel cringed at being called ma'am again, but she didn't mind that much this time.

Especially because this was a development she could use to her advantage...


Amity took a deep breath as she sat in the middle of an arena, Skara standing nearby while stretching

She now sported a full head of purple hair, a sight that brought a smile to her face, though she was still troubled regardless.

"What's wrong, Amity?" Skara asked, getting the purplette's attention. "If you're not feeling well, we can train another day-"

"No, we can't," Amity stated as she stood up, snapping her fingers to try summon a fireball. "The longer I don't train what Boscha taught me, the faster I'll forget about it, and if that happens-"

"Amity, it's okay if you don't want to do this. I, for one, would rather stay out of fighting for a little while longer," Skara chuckled. "But, besides, I don't think there really is much to worry about; I mean, did Boscha teach you anything besides the fireball trick?"

Amity paused, took a deep breath, then kept snapping her fingers

"Skara, I need to do this. I already convinced your mother to let me train here, just as how you convinced her to let you be my sparring partner, which, by the way, what the hell are you thinking!?"

"Take it from someone who's seen Boscha train: you'll always get more out of fighting a live opponent than a training dummy," Skara replied with a smile. "Besides, I don't think Mom will mind if we stop at any point."

Amity groaned and shook her head, opening her mouth for a moment before saying:

"I-!"

But then, she stopped and gritted her teeth before backpedaling.

"We can't just quit whenever we want, Skara, okay?! It's too late to back down now!"

"Well, if you say so," Skara shrugged. "I never really expected to convince you at this point, but it was worth a shot. Anyway, ready when you are."

As if on cue, Amity finally managed to summon a fireball, which she held with a smile.

"I'm ready-"

However, once she turned around, instead of seeing Skara in her red and black dress with a bandage over her pierced eye, she saw her in her Hexside uniform, her pierced eye not only blatantly visible, but bleeding profusely.

"Amity? Are you okay?"

Amity flinched and shook her head, returning to reality as she narrowed her eyes and exclaimed:

"I'm fine!"

Amity ran to Skara, who prepared to block the strike with her wings as Amity flashed between seeing her as her current self, and when they had their fight at Hexside.

As she got closer and closer, Amity breathed heavily and began shedding tears, the two Skaras flashing more and more rapidly as she got closer, until once she was close enough and Skara covered herself with her wings, at which point she could only see the Hexside Skara.

And then...

*BOOM!*

Amity cried as she rolled back, hitting the ground and covering her face as Skara ran to her aid.

"Amity! What happened?! Why did you do that?!"

"I can't..."

Skara rolled Amity to face her, and once she did, she saw not only the tears rolling down her cheeks, but the scorch mark that now decorated her right eye, which was foggy and grey-tinted.

"I can't hurt you anymore! I don't want to hurt you anymore! I don't wanna go back to being the Amity that treated you like garbage! The Amity that drove you away from the Boiling Isles!"

Skara frowned. "Amity..."

"I can't do that, Skara! I can't!" Amity cried, breathing heavily before she looked away and covered her face and weeped. "I can't... I just can't..."

Skara took a deep breath and wrapped her wings around the purplette.

"I know... and I'm sorry I reminded you of that..."

Amity just kept weeping, so Skara hugged her and patted her back.

"Let's go take a break, okay?"

"... Okay..."


Back with Boa and the groups, the Soul Denizen jumped around as she Exchanged blows with Phos, whose Keyblade resembled a collection of multicolored gems clustered together to resemble a Keyblade.

"You know, given what you're supposed to be," Boa remarked as her Keyblade locked with Phos'. "I'm surprised you're not more troubled by how your Keyblade looks."

"Well, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't completely uncomfortable," Phos replied before flashing a confident smile. "But in a fight, you can't let your guard down for even a second!"

Boa smiled, but something quickly caught her attention: Chloe trained with Alex as he rode Atticus, but her movements seemed more... awkward.

"You're falling behind, Chloe!" Atticus stated. "You have to stand tall and be prepared for when the enemy attacks!"

"I know that!" the redhead snapped. "Stop getting on my case!"

Boa stopped fighting Phos and dematerialized her Keyblade, Phos following suit before following her to Chloe's side.

"Koharu."

Chloe gasped and turned around, calming down once she saw the duo.

"Oh, it's you two. Don't scare me like that!"

"You seem to be moving more clumsily than usual," Boa folded her arms. "Normally, I wouldn't pay attention, but something seems wrong."

"Is something on your mind?" Phos asked.

Chloe folded her arms and huffed. "Why do you care?"

She quickly changed her tone when Boa glared at her.

"A-Actually, yeah, something's... bothering me."

Boa eyed Atticus, and the corgi king and his rider walked away, allowing the trio to talk things out. It wasn't a long talk, barely lasting a few minutes, but it was better than nothing.

"So that's what happened," Phos sighed and folded their arms. "I can't say I blame you for being conflicted."

"I know, right?!" Chloe huffed. "I'm supposed to be on a journey of self-evaluation, and yet Goh decided to show up and ruin everything, like usual!"

Boa turned to Phos. "Could you leave us alone for a moment?"

The Gem Denizen shrugged and walked away, allowing Boa to turn to Chloe and stated, matter-of-factly:

"Have you made mistakes, Koharu?"

Chloe blinked twice. "Why do you ask that? What does that have to do with anything?"

Boa narrowed her eyes. "Have you made mistakes, Koharu?"

"Listen, I know you have to be vague, but this is a little much, don't you think?"

Her patience wearing thin, Boa brandished her Keyblade and aimed it at Chloe, who dropped to the ground.

"Okay, this is definitely too much!"

"Stop fooling around!"

"I'm not fooling around!"

"Answer the question!"

"Answer my question first!"

"HAVE! YOU! MADE! MISTAKES! KOHARU!?"

"YES, I HAVE!"

Chloe's voice echoed across the Car as everybody turned to look at the duo, and they listened carefully as Chloe confessed, shedding tears:

"I SHOULDN'T HAVE DISOWNED MY DAD JUST BECAUSE HE DIDN'T TELL ME WHAT I WANTED TO HEAR! I SHOULDN'T HAVE GONE OFF ON MY OWN JUST TO TRY PROVE I WAS READY FOR RESEARCH! I SHOULDN'T HAVE TRIED TO FIGHT OFF THOSE SPEAROWS WITH AN INCOMPLETE TRAINER KIT! I SHOULDN'T HAVE CONVINCED THOSE APEX KIDS THEY'D NEVER GET OFF THE TRAIN! AND I NEVER SHOULD'VE BLINDLY FOLLOWED SPECTER'S SUGGESTIONS JUST BECAUSE I HAVE A CRUSH ON HIM!"

"She. Did..." Grace clenched her fist and furrowed her brow. "What?!"

"Oh no," Alex grimaced. "Grace is furious."

"There!" Chloe snapped at Boa. "Are you happy!?"

Boa smiled. "Are you?"

"...Y-Yeah... I... I feel like..." Chloe scratched the back of her head. "I just got a big weight off my back."

Boa put her Keyblade above her shoulder. "Wanna take a guess as to what that weight was?"

Almost getting an idea, Chloe looked at her numbered palm... and was stunned by what she saw.

Her number was no longer glitching.

The static was gone.

"It's gone..." Chloe stood up and giggled. "It's... It's gone!"

"What's gone?" Simon asked.

"My static's gone!" Chloe grabbed Boa and lifted her. "I'm not a Static Passenger anymore!"

Boa nodded. "Now you gotta get your number down to zero."

Chloe began spinning around in place, laughing with Boa while everybody looked in shock, Grace in particular shaking her fists while sporting a look of rage.

"Chloe had a very good reason to do what she did. A better reason than any of you will ever have," Lexi stated, looking at Grace with a smug sneer. "So go ahead, try to attack Chloe, Mrs. Apex. See where that-"

But rather than explode in rage, Grace took a deep breath and walked away, Simon and most of the kids except Lucy following her.

"-Gets you? Huh, that's odd," Lexi lowered his eyelids. "Normally this is the part where the Apex attacks blindly-"

And then Lucy kicked his shin.

"We're not the Apex!" she growled before following the group.

"Ouch, my shin!" Lexi cried. "Why do the little girls always do this!?"

And as Atticus tended to Lexi's pain, Phos turned around and saw with sympathy as Zenith Fantasy gathered around Grace, who kept her head low.


Back at the Boiling Isles, Luz and the Blight twins checked the book. And needless to say, what they found inside was... stunning...

"Mind manipulation... raising the dead... terraforming... separating the body and soul-I'm sorry, Azura created all of these?!"

Emira nodded. "She created everything: the glyphs, the magic system, if you look at something in the Boiling Isles, there's a chance she had a role in its creation."

"And the Boiling Underworld?"

Emira fell silent and looked elsewhere. Luz, likewise, went quiet as she took out a glyph from her pocket, the light glyph, and stared at it with melancholy.

"What's wrong?" Edric asked.

"It's just that until today, I always saw Azura as this literary masterpiece: a book series that was not only entertaining, but that helped me cope with life when people didn't understand me," Luz sighed and dropped the glyph. "And now, not only do I find out she was real, but that she created so many good, yet bad things."

Luz curled up as Emira looked at the glyph, then the human girl.

"I wanted Azura to help me escape from reality. Not open the doors to a worse one."

Emira turned to her brother, who essentially gestured her to do something. Then, seeing the glyph, she got an idea: she touched it, summoned a sphere of light, and showed it to Luz as she said:

"Mittens used to read Azura to escape from reality too."

Luz faced Emira, who looked at the sphere as she continued:

"At first, we didn't really get it. Mom and Dad allowed us to do whatever we wanted, the teachers did so too, people liked us, life seemed to be fine. But after everything we've learned... now it makes so much sense."

Luz took a deep breath and scratched her head. "Do you have any advice on how to get her to forgive me?"

Emira winced. "Why would you ask that?"

"Because not only did I fail to save her from Amirani, but I practically started this whole mess in the first place," Luz sighed. "I did a quirky scheme to try get her and Skara to become friends after being at each other's throats for so long, and not only did it fail, but it drove Skara out of the Boiling Isles and into the Boiling Underworld!"

"Well, you can't exactly blame yourself for Skara's decision," Edric pointed out, Emira nodding in agreement. "The Isles residents were treating her pretty badly already. She would've decided to call it quits and leave the Isles anyway."

"Would she have picked the Boiling Underworld as the place she'd go to, though?"

"Again, you can't blame yourself for that."

Luz groaned. "I know... but even if I didn't blame myself for that, I would've still be bothered by someone else: Amity."

"What about Mittens would you find bothersome?" Edric tilted his head. "If it's the idea that she'll never talk to you again or something, I'm sure she's already forgiven you for it."

"Besides," Emira rolled her eyes. "Knowing her, she'll probably just find someone else to pin the blame on-"

"That's the problem!" Luz snapped, standing up as the twins looked at her with shock. "Every time somebody wrongs her, she doesn't even pin the blame on them! She pins it on somebody else! I suggested her to try apologize to Skara, and when it doesn't work, she blames Willow! Boscha's the one who tricked her into unleashing the Mandragora, and she blames Skara for it! I mean, what's next?! Is she gonna blame Skara's mother for getting-"

"LUZ!"

Edric stood up and grabbed Luz's shoulders, the human girl flinching as the guy added:

"Calm down! You were this close to saying something you'd regret!"

Luz took several deep breaths as she stared deep into Edric's concerned eyes, and once she calmed down, the guy let her go.

"I'm sorry, it's just... I've never found someone to share this with before, and alongside everything else, I just..." Luz groaned. "I couldn't help but flip out."

Then she turned to Emira, and realized something. "Have you seriously been holding that light sphere this whole time?"

"Yeah, I was hoping we'd get a moment between us, but then Edric chimed in and I kinda didn't know when I could enter the moment again," Emira eyed the light sphere with worry. "I was thinking of playing around with it to pass the time, but then I got worried it might blow up if I try anything."

Luz flashed a smile and crouched down. "Here, let me give you a hand."

Luz grabbed Emira's hand and helped her raise it, the sphere slowly floating up as the girls looked at it for a moment... and then Emira faced Luz and said:

"Human... no, Luz, I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry too," Luz replied. "I probably should've expected you to not recognize anything related with Odalia as a compliment."

"And I definitely could've acted a bit less childish and petty regarding that comment," Emira giggled and put a hand on her cheek. "I literally told you to make your compliment more "complimenty."

"Yeah," Luz chuckled. "That was really weird."

The girls shared a hearty laugh before they noticed Edric was no longer with them. They then stood up and looked around until they saw him staring at the wall, looking visibly horrified.

"Edric, what's wrong?" Emira asked.

"This, Emira!" Edric exclaimed while gesturing at what he was seeing. "This is all sorts of wrong!"

The girls turned, and once they saw what he was seeing, they couldn't help but join in his horror:

There was a pamphlet on the wall, acting as promotion for some sort of ball at the Blight home, promising food, fun, and all that.

But what caught the trio's attention was the special guest: Boscha, who the pamphlet specified was going to return after so long.

"There's no way this can be real!" Emira exclaimed. "E-Even if Boscha did return, why would she do so at a ball?"

"This is clearly some sort of bluff," Luz narrowed her eyes. "And I think I know why it's being called."


Meanwhile, back with Amity and Skara, the former looked at her injured face as the latter took out her wand-flute hybrid and played a melody, which caused Amity to be surrounded by light blue energy as... her scorched eye remained the same.

"Huh, how odd, I was certain the melody would've healed you up," Skara scratched her chin as her Palisman appeared, holding some bandages. "Then again, maybe it works more for exhaustion than facial damage. How do you feel?"

"Totally refreshed, actually," Amity stood up and raised her fists. "Like I just woke up and I'm ready to take on the world!"

"And your eye?"

Amity sulked. "It hurts like hell."

Skara giggled. "Okay then, let's cover it up."

Amity sat back down and remained calm as Skara and the Palisman wrapped the bandages around her damaged eye. And once they finished, they made her look at her reflection while Skara stood by her side.

"And we're done!"

"Huh..." Amity tilted her head. "We look... kinda similar like this."

"Do we?" Skara tilted her head as well. "I don't see it."

Amity tilted her head again, and bonked it with Skara, causing them both flinch.

"Ow!"

"SORRY! Sorry! I'm sorry!" Amity cried. "I didn't mean it, sorry! Are you okay?!"

"It was just a headbutt, Amity, nothing to worry about," Skara replied while rubbing her head. "Calm down, okay?"

Amity took a deep breath and obliged, stating quiet until she saw the Palisman and asked:

"Hey, where does your Palisman go whenever they're not on your side?"

"They either keep an eye on Mom, or go off and do their own thing," Skara replied, giggling as the Palisman flew down to her shoulder. "I like to give them a bit of freedom."

"I see..." Amity leaned closer to the avian creature. "And what's their name?"

Skara blinked twice. "Name?"

"Yeah, your Palisman's name, what is it?" Amity turned to Skara. "You did think of a name for them, right?"

Skara scratched the back of her head and blushed. "There's been so many things happening lately, I kinda forgot to do that."

"What?! It's settled then!" Amity grabbed Skara's hand and held it closely. "We're gonna name your Palisman right here, right now!"

Skara tilted her head. "Is it really that big of a deal?"

"Skara, this is the embodiment of your magical potential! It's living proof of what you're capable of! To not give it a name is like if your mother didn't give you a name when you were born! Now, help me brainstorm a name for it!"

Skara looked at the Palisman, who chirped at her, and she got an idea.

"How about Chirpy?"

"How about no?" Amity put her hands on her hips. "Skara, this isn't a child's game! You need to give your Palisman a proper name!"

Skara lowered her eyelids. "Last time I checked, the Owl Lady called her Palisman "Owlbert."

"Yeah, but that was her, and this is you," Amity scratched her chin. "And after everything that's happened to you, it should be reflected in the Palisman. I mean, you're the princess of the Boiling Underworld! A being who not only survived the abuse of the Boiling Isles, but came out stronger because of it! You're not gonna take crap from anybody, and those who are dumb enough to summon your wrath will feel the entire rage of the Underworld!"

Skara raised an eyebrow and flashed an amused. "Melodramatic, much?"

Amity blushed and shook her head. "A-Anyway, there's gotta be a name that encapsulates all of that."

"Well, in that case," Skara put the Palisman on her head and clasped her hands together. "I think I know what to call them."

Amity raised an eyebrow, and with a confident smile, she answered:

"Seker!"

Chapter Text

And now, back to the Boiling Isles! And this is the last chapter we'll have before the Cupid Bee Car becomes a thing.

Strap on your seat belts, everyone! This is gonna be wild!

Also, I started working on a Pokémon and Kingdom Hearts crossover story with Green_Phantom_Queen, titled "Blossoming Hearts."

Give it a look when you can, I assure you you're gonna have fun.

Anyway, that's all I got for now. Time to head in!


"Odalia, this is a horrendous idea!"

Odalia barely shot a glance at her husband before she kept signing papers. She was currently preparing everything for the upcoming ball, and having her husband call out her "supposedly" bad idea was the last thing she needed.

"Don't you have supplies to check, Alador?"

"Don't change the subject!" Alador slammed his hands down the table. "The Urodelas are warmongers! And they have the full support of Persephone's army! If we so much as look at them wrong, they'll start a war with the Boiling Isles, and you want to try trick them into thinking their daughter came back!?"

"Amity's been stuck in that hellish Underworld for far too long, Alador," Odalia stood up and narrowed her eyes. "And since you're the same passive pussypillow you were back in high school, I took it upon myself to get our daughter back!"

"But by tricking the Urodelas into handing her back!? If they find out about the trick, and they will, it'll spell doom for the Boiling Isles!"

"Who gives a shit about the Isles!? I just want my daughter back!" Odalia spat. "And if you have any better ideas, Mr. I Have A Conscience, I'll be glad to hear it!"

Alador opened his mouth, but just as quickly shut it, looking elsewhere as Odalia handed him an invitation.

"Deliver this to Warden Wrath."

Alador looked at the paper and raised an eyebrow. "I'm not sure if these kind of events are Wrath's cup of tea. Sure, he went to Amity's tea party a long time ago, but-"

"The invitation isn't for him, dumbass! It's for Persephone!"

Alador's eyes widened. "Wait, what?"

"Warden Wrath is one of the few people in the Isles who can come and go from the Boiling Underworld without risk of death," Odalia smirked. "You're gonna give him the invitation, then tell him to deliver it to Persephone. Whether she decides to come doesn't matter; the Urodelas will see it and come themselves. And if they come, they'll bring Amity with them. Plain and simple."

"But... b-but... Odalia, this is insane!"

"No, Alador, this is necessary!"

"No! I refuse to play along in this sick game of yours!"

Alador prepared to rip the invitation apart, but just as he did...

"If you break that invitation, I'll leak info of your affair with Persephone!"

At that, Alador stopped. "You... you wouldn't."

"Oh, Alador, even after all these years, you're still so naive. So innocent. So pathetic. A Blight does whatever is necessary to get what they want. And right now, I want my daughter back; so you'll go tell Warden Wrath to deliver this to Persephone, and then you'll help me make sure this is an unforgettable Ball!"

Odalia grabbed Alador's tie and pulled him towards her.

"End. Of. Discussion."

The man looked shocked for a moment, but took a deep breath and nodded before going to deliver the letter.

He left the room, closed the door, and Odalia tented her fingers, smiling like the mastermind she thought she was.


"She's planning what!?"

Vines sprouted from the ground as Willow flashed a furious glare, only to calm down once she saw the stunned looks of Luz and the Blight twins.

She promptly calmed down, and took several deep breaths as the vines returned to the ground, eventually disappearing altogether.

"I'm sorry, that happens when I get agitated," Willow sighed while adjusting her glasses. "I just... I can't believe she'd go so far and do that!"

"Oh trust us," Emira rolled her eyes. "It's totally believable."

"Which is why we need you to gather the rest of the group in order to make up a plan," Luz spoke. "We're going to go to that ball, and when, not if, things go horribly wrong, we need to be ready to stop things from escalating."

Luz reached for her pocket, and took out a piece of paper. Willow grabbed the paper, and once unfolded, she saw it was a list of the students she and Luz had gathered a while ago: Gus, Mattholomule, Viney, Eileen...

"I don't know why, but I feel like this is one of the weirdest witch gatherings I've ever seen," Willow pocketed the list. "Anyway, I'm gonna go check up on everyone. What are you going to do?"

"We're gonna test out a theory we found on a peculiar book," Edric answered before grabbing and dragging his sister and Luz away. "Anyway, good luck gathering your friends, Mittens' friend!"

"My name's Willow!"

Edric waved goodbye and left, leaving Willow to sigh and check the list again.

"I guess I'm gonna check up on Gus first."

With that said, Willow walked out of her house, and began walking to Gus' home.


Very soon after that, Luz and the Blight twins sat down, Edric sitting on a separate log from Emira, who sat next to Luz.

"Okay, girls, listen, I know it can be... difficult, to feel comfortable using forbidden magic," Edric spoke. "But this is done for a good cause-"

"Yeah, we know, we get it," Emira replied hastily. "Can we get to the part where we check the book for a way to communicate with Boscha?"

"Yeah, Edric, we don't have time to waste!" Luz added.

"Okay, just wanted to make that clear," Edric sighed and reached for his back. "Now, without further ado, let's talk dark arts."

The Blight son took out the book the group found at the library alongside Gus, and he put it on the ground, flipping through the pages as the girls joined him.

"Let's see, Astral Magic... Mind Magic... Summon Magic... Aha! Communication Magic! It says here that it's possible to contact someone from another world."

"Does it work if it's in the same world?" Emira asked.

Edric shrugged. "I like to think so. But there's only one way to find out: we need a crystal ball."

"I know where to find one! The Owl House has a bunch of junk Eda's accumulated over the years, mostly shiny stuff: I'm sure she must've gotten a crystal ball at some point!"

"I mean, it's worth a shot," Emira scratched her chin. "But will she even let us use it?"

"I don't see why not; most of the stuff at the house is, again, junk she grabs at random."

"Then what are we waiting for?" Edric closed the book, and saved it... somewhere. "Let's go get a crystal ball!"

"Yeah!"


Back with Willow, the Plant magic prodigy knocked the door three times before Perry Porter, Gus' father, opened it.

"Oh hey, Willow! Nice to see you again!" Perry said cheerfully. "Gus is in the middle of a class right now, but if you need to talk to him, you can wait in the living room."

Willow nodded and walked inside. "Thanks, Mister Porter."

Willow sat down a chair, and it didn't take long before she was greeted by the familiar face of Gus.

"Willow, is something wrong?"

The Plant magic prodigy sighed. "There's no easy way to put this."

She reached for her back, and took out a peculiar object she had grabbed with her along the way to Gus' house.

A pamphlet promoting the Blight Ball.

"Oh hey, I've heard about this," Gus grabbed the pamphlet and took a closer look at it. "Something about the Blight family finally finding Boscha-"

"It's a bluff. Or at least, I have a feeling this is nothing but a bluff."

The boy raised an eyebrow and looked at Willow, who looked positively angry.

"The Blight parents, or at least Odalia, are planning to use a fake Boscha decoy in order to trick her parents into taking Amity and Skara out of the Boiling Underworld," Willow adjusted her glasses and took a deep breath. "But knowing them, not only will they see through the ploy, but as soon as they do so, carnage will ensue."

Gus smiled. "And Luz needs help to make sure things don't get too bloody, right?"

Willow nodded with a smile. "She asked me to gather the group we assembled back when Skara's Palisman first appeared. Once we have everybody, we can make up a plan to stop the Blights from causing an untold amount of damage with their blunder."

"Hmm," Gus scratched his chin and looked back at the pamphlet. "Are the Blight twins going to come? If so, maybe I'm not needed there?"

Willow stood up and grabbed Gus' hands, saying:

"Gus, I know you might think that just because someone else in the Illusion track is gonna be there, that you have no purpose, but you do! We need you on the team!"

Gus blushed and looked back at the note... at which point he noticed something.

"I just have a question: almost all of the tracks are accounted for, except for the Healing track and Oracle track, since I've heard Barcus is more on the Potions side of things and Viney for the Beastkeeping side."

"I'm adding Bo and Selene to the group to deal with that; the former can help if we get injured, and latter can tell us our chances of success!"

"I feel like those will be low, no matter what," Gus scratched the back of his head. "But alright, you got my support."

"That's great to know!" Willow stood up. "I'm gonna call you when I have everybody else gathered!"

Gus flashed a thumbs up, and Willow left the house just as Gus' father returned with a tray of cookies.

"Cookies are ready... where did Willow go?"

"She was in a bit of a rush, so she left," Gus explained as he grabbed a cookie. "She'll call me when things are ready, so until then, I guess we can continue the homeschooling."

"Understood," the man put the tray on the table. "I'll go get the scrolls ready."

Gus nodded and waved his hand as his father left, waiting until he was gone before he sat on the couch and sighed.

"I hope Luz has a better time than I have."


"So, you're gonna try to use a forbidden type of magic, in order to contact a well known psychopath, to try get their help in stopping the Blights from pissing off a pair of warmongers so much, they raze the Boiling Isles clean?"

The trio exchanged looks and nodded.

"I'm proud of you, kid, you know that?" Eda chuckled and ruffled Luz's hair. "Alright, let me search through my junk to find a crystal ball."

Luz nodded. "Thanks, Eda, you're the best!"

"I know, kid, I know."

Eda went deeper into the house, and Luz and the Blight twins sat on the couch to wait.

"Okay, now, while Eda searches her stuff," Luz turned to Edric. "Let's see what we have to do in order to contact Boscha-"

"Actually, before we do that," Edric remarked. "There's something we'd like to ask you, Luz."

"Really?"

"Yeah, there's something that's been on our minds ever since Mittens told us about you being girlfriends," Emira crossed her legs and twiddled her thumbs. "She mentioned something about you telling her that the only reason you ever found out about her crush was because of Boscha."

Luz lowered her head and frowned. "She wasn't happy about that, was she?"

"That's not what we want to discuss with you," Emira answered, waving her hand in a dismissive manner. "It's about something else. Something much more important."

Luz raised an eyebrow. "More important?"

"You told her you only found out about her crush on you because Boscha sent you a letter revealing it," Edric spoke, Emira nodded in agreement. "And that made us wonder... if Boscha hadn't taken extra steps so you'd find out, would you have discovered her crush on you on your own? Would you have asked her out if you had no pressure to do so?"

"Because let's not kid ourselves, Mittens would never take the first step," Emira added.

Luz lowered her eyelids and looked at the floor, resting her chin on her palm as she answered:

"To be honest... probably not. I mean, back then, I simply had too many things on my head. Eda was cursed, I was in another world, studying magic in a magical school."

Emira rolled her eyes. "Imagine that."

"Yeah, I know, but still, my mind was dealing with so many things at the same time, that if I had learned about Amity's crush on me, I... I don't wanna say I would've rejected her, but I definitely would've asked her to give me some time to think about it."

"Well, in that case, what changed?" Edric inquired. "If you had so many things on your mind, why did you decide to become girlfriends with Amity?"

"I... guess I didn't want to miss the opportunity. I mean, I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm the kind of person that needs to be told point blank about something, or else I'll either get the wrong idea or focus on something else."

"I learned that the hard way," Emira chuckled nervously. "But, seriously speaking, is that it?"

"Not really: I mean, I had never dated anyone before in my life. And if they flirted with me, again, I wouldn't have noticed. So, to have a chance to date someone who actually liked me was something I couldn't pass up. And for the most part, it was... fine. Although, I can't say I was completely happy with the way it was going."

Emira rubbed Luz's hair. "Amity's attitude was a little intense for you?"

"I like to think I'm a nice person. And I'm someone who likes to think there's good in everyone," Luz took a deep breath. "So, every time Amity acted a little mean, either with Skara or otherwise, it... upset me."

"And you never told her about it?" Edric asked as he tilted his head.

Luz looked away, and Emira promptly spoke:

"When you meet again, you gotta tell her all of this, understood? Your relationship's doomed to fail until both of you work to keep it steady."

"But how do I even tell her about this? How do I tell her in a way that won't hurt her feelings?"

"That's not something we can tell you, unfortunately," Edric sighed. "All we can really do is encourage you to be honest with her. Trust us, after all the lies she must've found, I'm sure she'll appreciate it if you're honest and tell her what you think."

"I found a crystal ball!"

The trio turned around and saw Eda walk into the room, holding a crystal ball in her hands.

"Now, ready to break the law to communicate with someone?"

Luz smiled confidently and nodded.


Warden Wrath opened the door, and right outside was Alador, looking rather forlorn.

"Greetings... Wrath."

"Alador..."

A short silence developed between the duo before they walked inside, and Wrath prepared some tea.

"So... Odalia has finally lost her fucking mind," Warden Wrath groaned.

"I like to think she lost it as soon as she made me... do that, with Persephone," Alador sighed. "And the worst part of it is, there's no reasoning with her: until she gets Amity back, she'll pull all the strings she can in order to get her out of the Boiling Underworld."

Warden Wrath sipped his tea and sighed. "Are you ready?"

Alador raised an eyebrow.

"I'm not going to lie to you, Alador: the only reason I agree to do this is to get both Amity and Skara out of the Boiling Underworld. And once Skara leaves, she'll want to talk to you."

Alador looked shocked for a moment, then sighed.

"She knows the truth, doesn't she?"

"Instead of wondering whether she knows the truth or not, you should be wondering what you're going to tell her once you two meet."

Wrath put his teacup back on the table, and faced the Blight patriarch.

"You've been avoiding her for far too long, Alador. It's time you give her an explanation."

Alador took a deep breath and lowered his head, clenching his fists as he answered:

"I know..."


Back at the Infinity Train, The Cat sighed wearily as Zenith Fantasy, Red Lotus Trio, and Ruby Sulphur Duet and Boa were at her house, the latter sitting down while the former two were searching through clothes to wear for the Cupid Bee Car ball.

"Simon, when I said you were welcomed to stay here, I only meant you and your former Apex friends," Samantha hissed at Simon. "Not the Ruby Sulphur Trio and Red Lotus Trio as well!"

"Look, this wasn't my idea, okay?" Simon sighed. "The Cupid Bee Car ball's coming soon and we need to wear something to not stand out."

"Ugh, fine," Samantha rubbed her forehead. "Just make sure they don't destroy any of my dresses!"

"Which, by the way, surprise me to no end," Lexi remarked as he checked a pink dress. "Why would you, an animal Denizen, have clothes for humanoid people?"

"Most of them are from Passengers I came across before who decided to ditch them to wear something different for their journeys."

"That just raises further questions-"

"Take it from someone who's been on the Train for years," Grace remarked as she sized Hazel Hughes. "The only thing you'll get by trying to make sense out of it is a headache, so just take everything you see at face value."

Lexi shrugged and went back to helping Chloe pick her clothes for the ball.

And it was then that static appeared on Chris' body.

"What's wrong, Chris?" Boa inquired.

"I... think there's somebody trying to call Boscha."

Everybody immediately turned to the Ruby Sulphur Duet and Boa, the latter stating:

"Alright, let me see them."

"You sure?"

"The faster we get this over with, the quicker we can focus on the ball."

Chris nodded, and his face disappeared, replaced by the cuter face of Luz.

"Boscha!" the crystal ball spoke with Luz's voice. "Boscha, are you there?!"

"Well, that's not terrifying at all," Phos quipped.

The crystal ball flew towards Boa. "Boscha, I'm so glad you're here... actually, where are you right now?!"

Boa turned to her fellow Passengers, hoping they'd gesture her that it was actually possible to tell anybody about the Train.

Unfortunately, all she got wete shrugs of uncertainty.

"Alright, Luz, be ready to write this down just in case you actually hear me," Boa took a deep breath. "I, or at least Boscha, is in an interdimensional train known as the Infinity Train on a journey to become a better person."

"Okay! Edric, Emira, write that down!" The Luz-faced crystal ball said while looking elsewhere for a moment, before turning back to Boa. "Okay, they're writing it down, anything else?"

Boa shook her head. "You actually heard me? In fact, Edric and Emira? You're with Amity's siblings?"

"Yeah, it's a very long story that I can't tell you right now," Luz sighed. "But anyway, how have you been? How's the Train been?"

Boa folded her arms and raised an eyebrow. "So you don't have time to tell a long story, but you got the time to hear an even longer story?"

"I know, it sounds weird, but I need to hear this."

Boa took a deep, weary breath and leaned against the couch.

"So, how do I put this in a way that won't make you freak out?"

"I don't think you can," Phos remarked, shaking their heads as everybody else couldn't help but agree.

"Fine, let's get this over with," Boa tented her fingers. "Boscha died on her journey through the Train and was placed on something called the Heart System, which split her soul into something called Soul Denizens in an attempt to help her develop into a better person, and I'm one of those Soul Denizens. Name's Casxboh, by the way, but call me Boa."

To say Luz was stunned would be an understatement.

"Did you get all that?"

"Y-Yeah, I... I did.. I-I just..." the crystal ball shook. "I... gotta take a moment to process it."

"Sure, take all the time you need."

The face nodded, and the static returned before Chris' face appeared.

"Well, that was interesting," Chris remarked.

"Yeah, you actually managed to talk about the Train without interference," Lucy remarked. "I didn't even know that was possible!"

"Well, maybe it's because her world isn't normal?" Chloe suggested. "I mean, your world's as normal as it gets, and mine has odd creatures but nothing else. Meanwhile, if the Boiling Underworld Car was any indication, Boscha lives in the stomach of a giant corpse!"

"Yeah, when you bring that up, an interdimensional therapy train doesn't sound that out of place," Atticus remarked.

*DING DONG!*

"I'll answer," Boa said.

"Since when does a cabin have a doorbell?" Todd pondered out loud.

"Again, kid, just accept it," Grace groaned. "The headache isn't worth it."

Boa opened the door, and to her surprise, she saw Gwen standing outside, donning a lime green winter outfit.

"Gwen? What are you doing?"

"The Cursed Princess Club got word you're going to a ball," Gwen put her gloved hands together. "And we thought we could give you a hand. If you're okay with that, of course."

Boa smiled warmly. "Of course."


Persephone walked through the hidden passage to the safe room, holding a pair of glyphs of elemental magic: one lighting glypg, and one water glyph.

This is an archaic way to help them out, but it's better than nothing.

Then, she reached the door, and...

"Amity, stop! Just stop!"

Flinching, Persephone slightly opened the door, but what she saw inside wasn't Amity pulling an Odalia and hurting her daughter.

Instead, the purplette kept her head down, arms folded behind her back as Skara, with her hands on her hips, chided her:

"Stop apologizing for every little thing you do!"

"Sorry-"

"You're doing it again!" Skara groaned and folded her arms. "What happened to the Amity I used to know?"

Amity looked elsewhere, but Skara grabbed her cheeks and made her look at her.

"What happened to Amity Blight, the confident ace of the Abomination track? The girl who was at the top of the school? One of the most promising students Hexside has ever seen?"

Amity gently pulled Skara's back and stated:

"She's not here, Skara. And for your sake, I hope it stays that way-"

"And what about your sake?! Your feelings! Your opinions!" Skara frowned. "Is this what you really want?"

Amity paused and looked everywhere, eventually forcing a smile as she answered:

"I-Isn't this for the better?"

"How?!"

"I'm not hurting you, or insulting you, or blaming you for something someone else, or forcing you to apologize for things you didn't-"

"But now you're focusing all of that on yourself, Amity," Skara put her hands on her hips. "You're blaming yourself for everything! You're apologizing for the smallest things! Do you really think I want that?"

"You don't?"

"I don't want you to blame yourself and act like you need to apologize for your very existence."

Skara grabbed Amity's hand and held it.

"I just want you to be nicer. To be my sister. To be someone who doesn't treat me like garbage, but doesn't treat themselves like trash just to make up for it."

Amity lowered her eyelids and looked elsewhere... at which point Persephone opened the door and got their attention.

"Uh, hello... did I come in at a bad time?"

Amity hid behind Skara, and that was all the answer Persephone needed.

"Do you need something, Mom?" Skara asked.

Persephone eyed the glyphs and pocketed them.

"Well, I wanted to tell you about something, but now that I think about it, I should talk with Amity for a bit. And don't worry, I'm not going to yell at her, or hurt her, or anything. I just want to talk."

Amity came out of hiding, and hesitated before following Persephone back to her room.


"I... Want to apologize."

To say that wasn't something Amity expected to hear from the woman would be... quite accurate.

"I didn't give off the best first impression when you came here," Persephone added. "When I actually saw you, your green hair among other things made me see Odalia when she was your age."

Persephone opened her eyes and rubbed her forehead.

"And when I saw that, I remembered my biggest blunder. To not do anything to stop her. To just stand at the sidelines, hoping she'd leave me alone, when in reality she was just waiting for the perfect time to use me to get what she wanted."

"So, you stood at the sidelines and watched things happen without getting involved?" Amity hummed. "Like mother, like daughter, I guess. I-I mean, she didn't get away with it, at least."

"No, she didn't," Persephone sighed. "After I gave the order to... exterminate her family, I also told the city guards to put both Odalia and Alador in the "kill on sight" list. If they ever set foot here and Warden Wrath isn't with them, their heads will end on a pike."

Amity narrowed her eyes. "After everything I've heard and seen them do, I think that would be for the better."

Persephone turned to Amity again. "But you're not like them. You hurt my daughter, and that's not something I'll forgive for a long time, but at least you're sorry for it. At least you're trying to make up for it. That, alone, makes you a thousand times better than Odalia and Alador combined."

Amity blushed and scratched her cheek. "G-Geez, thanks, Your Highness."

Persephone flashed a weak smile, and she and Amity exchanged relieved looks... at least, until a familiar face appeared.

That of Warden Wrath.

"Greetings, Your Highness."

"Wrath?" Persephone stood up and walked to the bars. "What are you doing here?"

The warden lowered his head and reached for his pocket.

"I know I don't have the right to show my face to you again. After I failed to uphold my promise to keep Skara safe, I shouldn't have returned..."

Then, he took out the invitation and handed it to the woman.

"But desperate situations require desperate measures."

Persephone inspected the invitation as Amity took a peek, and gasped.

"You can't be serious! Are they really going that far!? Skara! Come see the bullshit my parents are getting into this time!"

Persephone handed the invitation to Amity, who ran to an appearing Skara as Persephone asked bluntly:

"Who sent this invitation?"

"Alador did. And before you ask, yes, I believe this is nothing but a bluff to try get Amity out of the Underworld."

"Of course it's a bluff!" Skara snapped. "Even if Boscha came back, why would she stay with the Blights?"

Persephone scratched her chin. "What's the catch?"

"Well, the only thing I really suggest if you do plan to go, is that you take both Skara and Amity with you."

"If? There's no "if" in this!" Amity stated, Skara nodding before adding. "Yeah! Mom would never want to go there!"

"Actually," Persephone smiled. "I think we can make this work."

"Huh?!"

"Wrath, tell Alador and Odalia I'm coming," Persephone smirked. "And that I'm not missing this Ball no matter what."

Warden Wrath nodded, and left the dungeons, leaving the woman to address the stunned half-sisters:

"Skara, Amity, get ready."

Persephone flashed a confident smirk.

"We're gonna rain on Odalia's parade."

Chapter Text

Is it me, or is this starting to become a pattern? XD

And here we are! The Car we've all been waiting for!

The Cupid Bee Car saga officially begins!

Oh, and also, the season two trailer for The Owl House dropped not too long ago, but eh, that's not important. XD

I don't really have much to say here, only that you should better get ready, cuz this is gonna get wild!

So, without further ado, here we go!


Night had arrived at the Cupid Bee Car, where the ball it held soon about to start. A large building was decorated like an aristocratic meeting, with some warnings for the Cupid Bee itself in all entrances.

Among the people inside the ballroom was The Innocence, who twirled while giggling in the middle of the empty room.

"This is gonna be so much fun!"

"I sure hope so."

The Master of Masters walked into the room, getting the Innocence's attention.

"Because the Cupid Bee could always be unleashed. And we both know what happens to those that get stung with it."

The Innocence pouted. "I already told you, I was sorry for freeing it!"

"I know, and I already forgave you," the cloaked man chuckled while petting The Innocence's head. "I'm just saying that if the bee stings someone, this could become a very crazy night."

The Innocence giggled... only to stop, gasp and turn, looking at the place with worry.

"Is she... gonna come here?"

The Master of Masters put his hands on The Innocence's cheeks, and said with a reassuring tone:

"Even if she comes, she won't get to hurt you. The groups will keep you safe, I promise."

With that said, The Master of Masters grabbed The Innocence and lifted her, carrying her in his arms as they walked away...

Just in time for a pair of Golden eyes to glow in the darkness...


Meanwhile, at the Owl House, Luz put on a blue bowtie while checking herself in the mirror, now wearing a blue tuxedo with a matching hat.

"You look amazing in that suit."

Luz turned around, and saw the Blight twins walking to her, wearing the same outfits they used for Grom.

"Are you sure you guys have to come?" Luz asked, slight worry in her tone. "If your Mom sees you, there's a chance she'll make sure you never leave her again."

"And if she sees you, there's a very big chance she'll make you responsible for Mittens' kidnapping and kill you," Emira pointed out. "I mean, where do you think she got the whole "blame everybody but yourself or the perpetrator" schtik from?"

"You make a good point, but still," Luz clenched her fists. "This is gonna be one of the toughest things we've ever faced. If we wanna get out of there alive, we gotta give it our all."

"Couldn't have said it better," Edric chuckled. "Anyway, everyone is gathered downstairs. They're ready to leave as soon as you're ready."

"Got it, tell them I'll be ready in a minute."

The twins nodded and left the room, leaving Luz alone to adjust her bowtie and looked at her reflection with determined expression.


Meanwhile, with Amity and Skara, the former looked at her reflection with worry, while the covered her bandaged eye with some bangs while her Palisman brushed her hair.

Then, Amity looked at her palm, small purple sparks surging through it as she clenched her fist.

"Something wrong?"

Amity looked back to her reflection, where Skara now sat next to her, Seker standing on top of her head.

"Huh... you know, the "hair covering your eye" style really suits you."

"Thanks, but don't change the subject."

Damn it.

"I'm a little worried about what we're about to do," Amity sighed, resting her cheek on her palm. "It's like we're about to walk into the lion's den, just as Luz says."

"Mom knows what she's doing, Amity. She's not gonna send us into some death trap without a plan," Skara answered while rubbing Amity's hair. "Just relax. We'll get out of this alive."

Amity flashed a tiny smile and grabbed Skara's hand.

"I hope so."

"Girls! Are you ready?!"

Skara and Amity turned around and saw Persephone enter the room, wearing a grey dress that covered her body... and sporting a green snake around her neck.

"Yeah, we just finish putting on the make up and we'll be ready," Skara answered as the snake slid down Persephone and moved to her. "Oh hey, who's this little guy?"

"That's my Palisman, Caduceus," Persephone asked while walking to her daughter's side. "I figured since we're going straight to the Blight Mansion, we need to take as many precautions as we can."

Seker hopped off Skara's head and approached Caduceus, who slid back while flashing their forked tongue. The duo stared at each other for a moment, and then Seker hopped to Caduceus' side and rested on their stomach.

"D'aw, they get along!" Skara cooed. "Are you seeing this, Amity?"

But when she turned around, Skara and Persephone saw Amity with her chin resting on her fist, sporting a contemplative look.

"Amity?"

"I just had a thought; Warden Wrath came here to deliver a letter, but there's no way he could've made it past Prometheus and Amirani without them asking about what he was doing," Amity tented her fingers. "So, assuming he told them the truth about what he was doing here..."

Amity faced the Braes with worry. "Doesn't that mean they're gonna go to the ball, too?"


"Oh don't be silly, darling, of course we're going to the ball!"

Prometheus chuckled as he adjusted his bowtie, having swapped his black cloak for a tuxedo... while still keeping his mask.

"This is a waste of time."

The man turned around and whistled at seeing his wife wearing a purple strapless, halterneck dress with matching slippers, her wild hair tied up in a large braid.

"It's so obvious that Odalia's just putting up a front in order to get Amity back from the Underworld," Amirani crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. "Persephone's already going there and she's bringing Skara and the living blight with her, why do we need to go?"

"Don't you get it, my love? This is the opportunity we've been waiting for!" Prometheus raised his clenched fist as he walked to the skeptical Amirani. "After waiting years and years for a chance to finally make the Blight family pay for what they've done, the time has come! They're making a Ball to celebrate this blatant farce! With so many people putting their eyes on the Blights, it's our chance to wreck them! To destroy them! Humilliate them!"

Prometheus caressed Amirani's cheek. "And yes, my love, you'll even get to paint the walls with Odalia's blood."

Amirani simply slapped his hand away. "We both know that's impossible. Even if Odalia had as much blood as someone from the Boiling Underworld, the Blight Mansion is massive. I'd only manage to paint, like, a corner of the walls."

Prometheus shrugged. "Then let's kill Alador too."

"That's not enough."

"And how about everybody dumb enough to go to this Ball? I'm sure there will be lots and lots of people who pay it a visit just to sate their own curiosity."

Amirani slowly gained a sadistic smirk. "Now you're speaking my language."

"And as a plus," Prometheus rubbed his hands. "We'll get to show off the Neo Palismans!"

"Right, you did mention something of a side project you were working on while putting all those drugs inside Boscha."

"And unlike Boscha, I actually managed to complete this project!" Prometheus clapped twice. "Come here, girls!"

From the shadows emerged a pair of "Palismans": one resembled a Brown cat with blue legs and a head full of brunette hair, and the other was essentially a horrifying fusion between a Witch and a Mandragora.

"Prometheus... you're a genius!"


Then, at the Cursed Princess Club Car, Boa donned Boscha's previous yellow lion-themed dress, pulling a few poses against a mirror while the CPC got themselves ready.

"You wear that like a charm, Boa," Calpernia said with a little smile. "Don't worry. You look good."

"I know... I guess I'm just a little worried people will confuse me for Boscha," Boa sighed... then added. "Just like how I'm wondering why you're getting prepared for the ball. I mean, were you invited?"

The CPC promptly revealed their invitations.

"Wow, the Master of Masters really does go the extra length, huh?"

"Master of Masters? The one who gave us these things was one of your lookalikes!" Syrah clarified. "I think her name was Innocence or something-"

"The Innocence?" Boa looked elsewhere and scratched her chin. "So she's not stuck to the Cupid Bee Car, she can go wherever she wants..."

"She was accompanied by a figure in a black cloak," Gwen added as she walked to the two-eyed witch fragment. "Is that who you're talking about?"

"Yeah, so at least-"

But then, Boa caught a glimpse at Gwen, and she stood stunned. The Denizen was wearing a dark green dress with matching gloves and shoes, a white apron tied to it, with hearts decorating it.

Eventually, Boa stared for so long that Gwen looked away, blushing slightly.

"What?"

"Oh, uh, it's nothing," Boa smiled awkwardly. "It's just that you look... stunning."

Gwen's blushing intensified.

"Guess some things never change, huh?" Syrah quipped.

This earned her a web from Calpernia, who covered her mouth while staring at Boa, saying:

"Curtis just finished setting up the carriage. It's ready whenever you're done changing."

"Wow, not only do you get to wear a fancy dress, but you get to ride in a carriage?" Phos shrugged. "I'm kinda jealous."

"Don't be, you're all going in the same carriage together," Calpernia clarified. "Once you're all dressed up."

"But I don't have a body to wear clothes with," Chris pointed out.

"Oh, don't worry about that," Calpernia smiled. "We got that covered..."


Meanwhile, at the Cupid Bee Car, the first of the groups to arrive was Zenith Fantasy, who were driven to the Car by The Cat and Frank.

"Alright, everyone," Frank exclaimed. "We've arrived!"

Then, the members of Zenith Fantasy got off one by one.

The first one to leave was Lucy, who hopped off her seat once she opened the door. She was wearing a red tuxedo with a white undershirt, with a matching pair of shows and hay.

The next to leave was Alex, who got off slowly and carefully upon opening the door. He wore the same clothes as Lucy, but blue in color.

"Hey, you look pretty good!" Alex told Lucy.

"Not as good as you, handsome," Lucy replied with a wink.

Alex blushed and looked elsewhere, scratching his chin as Lindsay chimed:

"Geez, get a room, will you?"

Lucy and Alex looked up, and saw Lindsay float off her seat, then float down next to them while showing off her white, lacy dress.

"And while you're at it, get me another outfit."

Todd was the next member to get off, stomping around the truck until he stopped next to Lindsay, revealing his Caramel dress with matching pants and shows.

"Oh, why would you want to change, Todd?" Lindsay nudged his shoulder. "I think you look great in that dress."

"And I agree, but it's not what I wanted!" Todd whined. "Especially because I'm wearing this because you cheated!"

"How could I cheat at rock, paper, scissors?" Lindsay shook her head.

"Because I played paper, you played rock, and you claim you won despite the fact everyone knows paper beats rock!"

"I have to agree with him."

Finally, Hazy got off the truck and dusted her lavender dress, adjusting her bow as she added:

"Paper really does beat rock in rock, paper, scissors."

"And how does that make sense!?" Lindsay whined. "How could a dumb paper manage to defeat something as thick and heavy as stone?!"

"Stop acting like you don't know any better, Lindsay," Alex sighed. "Just admit you cheated to get Todd in a dress."

And while Lindsay tried to make an argument for herself, Simon and Grace walked out of the truck: the former sported a black tuxedo with a tie, and the latter wore a red dress with matching opera gloves.

"You guys look amazing!" Lucy chirped, flashing a thumbs up to the duo.

"Eh, sure, they look okay..."

The group turned around, and an old-timey car arrived, wherein Peacock, Goh, and the Red Lotus Trio emerged.

Peacock was wearing an Orange tuxedo, Chloe donned a pink long-sleeved dress, Atticus wore a bowtie, and Lexi put on a suit.

And Goh? He was wearing a black dress.

"But that's nothing compared to us!" Peacock stated haughtily while striking a pose alongside Chloe. "Isn't that right, kid?!"

"Why am I wearing a dress, again?" Goh inquired nonchalantly.

"Because you look absolutely stunning in it!" Peacock nudged Chloe. "Isn't that right, Chloe?"

"I thought it was because you wanted to see him in a dress?"

Peacock promptly smacked Chloe with a rubber ducky. But before much else could come out of that, the final group arrived:

A golden carriage rode into view, and once the steeds stopped, their rider, Curtis, went to the door and opened it.

From there, the Cursed Princess Club and Ruby Sulphur Trio walked out, each sporting fancy, elegant dresses and accessories that would definitely make them the center of attention if things went south.

Except for Chris. All he had was a bowtie.

"I think I'm bi, now," Chloe casually remarked, only to backpedal when everyone looked at her. "I-I mean, now that everybody's here, we should go inside!"

"She's right," Simon stated while adjusting his tie. "We have to go inside, find The Innocence, and... well, maybe we'll find the Master of Masters inside and he'll tell us what to do next."

"I highly doubt that," Lexi quipped.

"Alright, everyone!" Calpernia exclaimed. "Off to the ball, we go!"

Everyone cheered "Yeah!" in unison as they marched towards the building, ready to take on whatever challenges awaited inside...

All while, overlooking the ball at the top of a hill, Hazel stood on top, arms folded behind her back while looking down at the groups, smirking as she adjusted her tie.

She was wearing a purple tuxedo with white gloves, and matching shoes and top hat.

"Alright then, this is it," Hazel raised and clenched her fist. "This is the night that Zenith Fantasy stops being a nuisance!"

"How can you know?"

Hazel rolled her eyes and turned to the source of the question: One of her teammates, Sara Dyktalis, wearing a pink dress with matching gloves and high heel boots.

"I already told you, Sara, our objective is to defeat Zenith Fantasy once and for all," Hazel groaned, using hand gestures to get her point across. "Beat them, convince them, it doesn't matter! As long as we split them up, they won't ever bother us again!"

"Yeah, I thought the mission Amelia gave us was to grab and retrieve the Cupid Bee Denizen," Sara retorted. "And speaking of which, what even is that thing!?"

"The Cupid Bee is a Denizen with the power to make anybody it stings fall in love with the first person they see."

The duo turned around, and saw another teammate, Amanda, chime in with an excited smile. She was wearing a simple black suit with matching shoes and gloves, all while reading a rectangular screen summoned from her glasses.

"The only way to undo the Cupid Bee's effect is to crush it, or for someone other than the person's crush to kiss them," Amanda explained, blissfully unaware of Hazel approaching her. "It's caused so much trouble before, in fact, that it's been kept sealed in-"

Hazel grabbed the screen and pushed it to the side. "I'm sorry, since when can your glasses do that?"

"Oh, Amelia insisted on giving my glasses an upgrade; it's connected to the Train's database, allowing me to quickly find and read about a particular Denizen's history," Amanda answered cheerfully before unsummoning the screen with a tap of her bridge. "Is that a problem?"

"No, but whe didn't give me any upgrades!" Hazel whined. "In fact, now that I think about it, she didn't give anybody else an upgrade! But no matter."

Hazel looked down and scanned the building for an alternate entrance... which she eventually spotted in the backyard.

"Alright, Amanda, Sara... afterthoughts."

The trio turned to see the last members of the group:

Louise and Bort.

"Let's crash this party!"


Back at the Owl House, Luz walked downstairs while Edric and Emira checked the book of forbidden magic.

"Hey there, Luz," Edric greeted as the human walked to them. "Are you ready to go?"

"Yeah, I think I am," Luz took a deep breath. "I've just been thinking about what Boscha... I mean, Boa, told us."

The twins exchanged looks, and Edric gestured Emira to comfort the girl. The female Blight twin sighed, stood up and walked to Luz, saying:

"Don't think about that for now."

"How can I not? After everything that happened this past month, and the stuff we're about to do, finding out that Boscha's not only stuck on an interdimensional train, but she's dead's just..." Luz took another deep breath and looked elsewhere. "Not only's the Blight Ball definitely a farce now, but if Boscha's parents were to find out... if Amity and Skara were to find out, a-and they gotta find out eventually-"

"Yes, they're gonna find out, eventually," Emira answered, grabbing Luz's chin and making her look at her as she added. "Right now, we need to focus on the ball and make sure that when things go to hell, it doesn't end in a bloodbath."

Luz calmed down, and nodded in agreement. "Y-You're right."

"Of course I am," Emira said haughtily as Luz walked to and sat next to Edric.

"There's a time and place for everything, Luz, we'll tell everyone what we found out later," Edric flashed a smile. "For now, how about we talk about something else? Anything else."

"Hmm... I've been wondering," Luz remarked. "You're wearing the same outfits you wore at Grom."

"Uh huh?" Emira replied.

"And according to Amity, you got stood up," Luz scratched her cheek. "My question is, who did you ask out to Grom?"

"Well, I decided to ask out Viney," Edric answered with a smile, only to frown as he added. "But she chose to go with her griffin instead."

"Wait, is that even legal?" Luz asked in disbelief. "Actually, don't answer that, I feel like I won't like the answer. Anyway, what about you, Emira?"

"My date..." Emira blushed, folded her arms and looked elsewhere. "That's classified information."

"She asked out Mattholomule," Edric finished with a chuckle.

"Edric!"

"Whoa, seriously?!" Luz exclaimed, barely holding back a giggle. "Why?"

"Well, there's the pragmatic option that getting along with a Construction student has its benefits," Edric walked to Luz, sporting a cocky smile as he added. "But the real reason is-"

"Edric, don't you dare tell her anything!"

The male Blight twin shot a cheeky look at his sister, which widened as he whispered:

"She has the hots for guys younger than her."

Luz gasped. "Whaaaaat?!"

"I-It's not what you think! E-Edric's just playing with you!" Emira stammered, blushing as red as a tomato as she avoided eye contact. "I d-didn't ask him out because I'm into y-y-younger people! G-Getting his favor would be useful!"

Edric, however, was quick to retort. "She once dated a middle school kid on her first year of high school-"

"SHUT UUUUUUP!" Emira cried as she covered her ears and rolled on the floor. "Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up!"

The duo began laughing out loud, eventually getting the attention of Eda.

"I'm hearing laughs of joy. Is something happening?"

"No, Eda, it's nothing," Luz remarked, waving her hand as she got off the couch. "Just talking with the twins before we went to the ball."

"Alright then, just wanted to check," Eda waved her hand as the trio walked to the door. "Anyhow, have fun at the ball! I'm just gonna stay here! By myself! Doing absolutely nothing!"

"She's gonna go to the ball, isn't she?" Edric whispered to Luz.

"This is Eda we're talking about," Luz whispered back with an amused smile. "She'd go even if she was banned from it."

The trio shared a hearty laugh as they walked out of the house and closed the door. Once that was done, Eda walked back to her room, just in time to see Lilith and King finish drawing a peculiar glyph on the ground, one resembling a triskelion.

"The glyph is finished, Edalyn," Lilith stated as she stood up and dusted herself. "We're ready to go when you're ready."

"That's great to know!" Eda walked to the glyph and patted Lilith's back. "Thanks again for helping me with this glyph, Lilith."

"I'm still not entirely comfortable using a forbidden type of magic," Lilith stated as she walked to Eda's side. "I mean, even as a member of the Emperor's Coven, we weren't even allowed to know about this stuff. If this is so dangerous even the emperor wants nothing to do with it-"

"Oh would you stop thinking about all this stuff?!" Eda snapped. "This isn't about the ethics of magic or whether the emperor has a point, this is about making sure the Blights pay for what they did!"

Eda leaned closer to Lilith. "Think about it: we both heard the horrible things they did to both Skara and Amity. It's practically their fault that things are the way they are! Luz and her friends can do damage, but we can go even deeper and expose them for the jerks they really are! Doesn't that sound enticing?"

"You're a bad influence, Edalyn," Lilith stated before flashing a smile. "And I love you all the more for it. I'm ready."

"So am I!"

King ran to the women's side as Eda touched the glyph, causing it to glow and envelop the women and creature before teleporting them elsewhere.


One quick aerial ride later, the lights were on at the Blight Mansion as the Blight Ball began, with Luz's group watching it on top of a hill, ready to take on their toughest mission yet.

"Time to give Odalia a reality cheek," Luz stated before taking a step forward. "Onwards, every-WAH!"

Luz tripped and fell down the hill, the witches watching her roll down, her screams of shock soon devolving into giggling fits as she reached the ground.

"Luz!" Willow called. "Are you okay?!"

"I'm more than okay! I'm great!" Luz laughed out loud. "That was so much fun! You guys should try it!"

Emira scratched her chin. "I dunno, this is a pretty steep hill, and it might get our clothes dirty. What do you think, Edric?"

But the guy didn't even hesitate; he walked to the edge of the hill and began rolling down, causing Emira to screech like a banshee.

"EDRIC! Hang on, I'm coming!"

Emira tried to slide down the hill, but she tripped and began rolling down as well.

The rest of the team came soon, some laughing, some screaming, but everyone rolled down until they hit the ground, eventually landing close enough to find a familiar face as the mansion's bouncer.

"Whoa, Warden Wrath? You're the bouncer?!" Luz asked in disbelief, before flashing a smile and a thumbs up. "Well, I can't say you weren't born for the role."

Warden Wrath laughed wearily. "Alador and Odalia needed some security for the event. And wouldn't you know, me running the Conformatorium makes me eligible to be a bouncer."

"Huh, that's... odd, but okay!" Edric folded his arms. "How long has it been since the party started?"

"Eh, not too long ago, actually; those who were invited are slowly but surely coming," Warden Wrath nodded. "In fact, I just let three special guests in. But now's my turn to ask questions: what are you doing here?"

"We're here for the ball!"

Emira rolled her eyes. "That's the only reason anybody would ever be here, really."

"Names."

"I'm Luz Noceda," Luz wrapped her arms around Edric and Emira's shoulders. "And these are Edric and Emira Blight. As for the rest-"

"You can come in, but the rest stay out."

"What?!" Willow snapped, stomping forward. "Why's that?!"

Warden Wrath pointed at the board next to him, which showed pictures of Willow and the rest of the team, each crossed out in red stuff.

"Yeah, I had a feeling the Blights would put something like that," Mattholomule sighed.

"But wait, not all of us are there!" Gus perked up. "Bo and Selene can come in no problem!"

Warden Wrath scratched his chin and turned to look at the girls, who curtsied with nervous smiles.

"Eh, go ahead."

Warden Wrath opened the gates, and Luz, Bo, Selene, and the twins walked inside, Luz catching one last glimpse of the rest of the group before Warden Wrath closed the gates and went back to his spot.

With the Warden making it clear they wouldn't get past him, the group began to walk away.

"Well, that was a short lived mission. Luckily, I didn't put my best outfit for the occasion," Viney threw her arms up and walked away. "Let's go home, everyone-"

But then, Jerbo stopped her. "We're not done yet."

"What do you mean we're not done?"

"If we can't enter through the main door, then we're gonna have to find another way," Willow stated before facing Mattholomule. "And if we can't find another way in."

Mattholomule cracked his fingers with a confident smile.

"We'll make one."


Inside the Blight Mansion, Alador and Odalia sat on a pair of thrones as music blared, the former looking elsewhere while tapping his cheek.

"Alador, you don't look very interested in the party," Odalia growled, shooting a glare at her husband as she gripped her crystal ball. "What is on your mind this time?"

Alador took a deep breath and answered. "Well, you see-"

"If you plan to speak to me, then do so in my direction!"

Alador gritted his teeth, calmed down, and faced his wife as he stated:

"Warden Wrath brought up an... interesting idea."

Odalia raised an eyebrow. "Really now?"

"Well, I told him about Persephone, right?"

"Uh huh."

"And you know Persephone... has a daughter-"

"Stop right there, Alador," Odalia hissed. "Now, I want you to listen very closely to me, understood?"

"Fine."

"There's no way Persephone's going to bring that wretched waste of a witch with her," Odalia stated sternly. "The invitation was for herself alone. And even if she does bring that brat, who's to say she's going to stay?"

Alador's eyes widened, then narrowed in disbelief. "This is Skara we're talking about!"

"Yes, the stupid little Skara who not only needs a flute to cast magic, but was idiotic enough to follow a psychopath and become the Boiling Isles' chew toy," Odalia crossed her legs and rolled her eyes. "She has no place in here-"

"Greetings, Odalia. Alador."

The Blight couple looked down as Persephone stopped and looked up, Skara and Amity, the latter with a different hairstyle that covered her eyes, joining her as she promptly curtsied.

They all wore dresses that covered their entire bodies, the only difference being in color: red for Skara, blue for Persephone, and Purple for Amity.

"It is a pleasure to see you again after all these years."

"The pleasure is ours," Alador replied. "Right, Odalia?"

However, the Blight Matriarch got off her throne and walked down the stairs, gripping her crystal ball as she snapped:

"What do you think you're doing, bringing that... thing here!"

Odalia pointed at Skara, who remained calm even as the Blight woman glared at her.

"That "thing," Odalia, is my daughter," Persephone stated sternly. "Her name's Skara, in case you're wondering."

"Well, I'm not wondering!" Odalia snapped, only to catch a glimpse of Amity's face. "Not as much as the other girl, anyway."

Amity flinched and looked elsewhere.

"Don't pay attention to her, she just recently became a Weak," Persephone stated. "Instead, why don't you focus on apologizing to Skara?"

Odalia raised an eyebrow. "And why would I do that?"

"Oh, Odalia, I heard everything you said about my daughter just now," Persephone giggled. "And I find it hysterical how you think she's lesser 'cause she needs an instrument, when you, as a Seer, are practically useless without your pretty little crystal ball."

Odalia summoned a spectral beast from the crystal ball, but Persephone simply swatted it away with a slap, leaving Odalia to shiver as Persephone stated:

"Now, go ahead, Odalia. Use magic on me. Attack me, insult me, do anything to hurt me or my daughter."

Then, Persephone flashed a cold glare that sent shivers across the entire Mansion.

"And if I'm feeling merciful, I'll only freeze your blood right on the spot."

Odalia gritted her teeth, ready to do something... when a sudden arrival caught everyone's attention.

This being of Luz, the Blight twins, Bo, and Selene, the latter two waving awkwardly as all eyes fell on them.

"Amity's human pet?"

Luz narrowed her eyes, determined to withstand whatever came next.

Chapter Text

Season 2's one week away, guys! Are you ready to see how many things I actually got wrong in this story?!

And if any of you already saw the early airing this Saturday, please keep it to yourself. Just because there are spoilers everywhere on YouTube doesn't mean there aren't people who want to be surprised.

So, without further ado, let's-a go!


"So, you came after all."

Those were the stern words Odalia had for Luz as she approached the human girl, who reached for her pocket and maintained a determined glare.

"Well, color me surprised, Human. You actually went to an event without my daughter being present," Odalia scoffed, placing her arms behind her back before leaning towards the girl. "Congratulations: you're not some worthless parasite like the Boscha girl."

Luz looked surprised for a moment, but she quickly shook it off. "Where's Boscha!?"

"Interesting. So not only can you go to events without Amity being present, but you can also think about people besides her," Odalia got up and giggled. "Given the way she talked about you, I thought you were nothing more than a lazy add-on, but alas, it seems I was wrong."

Odalia's smiled vanished and she furrowed her brow. "I hate being wrong."

"Oh trust me," Luz glared. "I can imagine."

"Uh, Luz, you might wanna tone down the sass," Edric whispered to the human girl, with Emira whispering soon after. "Yeah, Mom's not someone you wanna mess with."

"Oh right, you brought Edric and Emira as well," Odalia rolled her eyes. "Gotta be honest, I enjoyed the quiet of the house while it lasted, but without Amity around, I guess the best chance I have to carry on with the Blight family legacy is with you two."

Emira was quick to snap. "We're not going to live with you again!"

Odalia, however, just smirked. "Then Amity should better show up soon, or else I'll have no choice but to take you back by force."

Amity faced the woman, but Persephone quickly grabbed her shoulder, shaking her head and convincing her to stay put.

"Well, what a delightful scene to witness!"

Everybody turned around to see Amirani and Prometheus arrive, the former holding the feline "Palisman" with a leash while the latter held the Mandragoranoid's hand.

"Odalia Blight acting high and mighty despite being at the aristocratic bottom of the barrel," Amirani scoffed. "It never gets old."

"Ah, Prometheus! Amirani!" Odalia chirped, feigning a friendly tone as she shook their hands. "You don't know how glad I am you came!"

"And miss the chance to see you make a fool of yourself? We'd never!" Amirani responded before looking at Luz's group. "Especially when Amity's friend is here, alongside the twins and... a pair of afterthoughts."

Bo and Selene pouted.

"But by all means, keep going! Insult Amity's friend all you want!" Amirani turned back to Odalia. "It's like you always say: if you really love someone, you won't let them be put down by the world."

At that, Odalia gritted her teeth and growled while Amirani looked around, then shrugged:

"Huh, looks like she's nowhere to be seen. I guess she's just like you after all, Odalia: a Blight in name and in nature."

"Now you listen here-!" Luz snapped.

However, the twins quickly pulled the human girl back, shaking their heads and silently begging her not to cause a scene.

Unfortunately, someone did make a scene anyway: this being Amirani, who jumped to Alador's seat.

"Hello there, Alador."

"Greetings, Ami-"

Before he could even finish, Alador was grabbed by his tie and pulled, at which point she planted a kiss on him and began making out, startling everybody in the ballroom.

"Ahahaha, oh, Amirani," Prometheus shook his head. "I really need to teach her some self-control."

"Why doesn't this bother you!?" Odalia yelled.

Prometheus answered thusly: "Because it pisses you off. Though, if you'd rather focusing on something else, I believe I have something that'll be right up your alley."

And with that, Prometheus guided Odalia elsewhere, all while the Blight woman shot a glare at Luz that made it clear this wasn't over.

And coincidentally, Amirani stopped kissing Alador and jumped back to the feline Palisman, who only began moving again as the woman grabbed their leash and grabbed them.

"Let's stay focused, Luz," Edric stated, putting a hand on the human girl's as he added. "The rest of the group will find their way in."

"Until then, let's try to keep a low profile," Emira added. "If we end up making too much of a mess, we might get kicked out."

"I know, I know," Luz took a deep breath. "Let's... let's go."

And with that said, the group decided to try enjoy the ball to the best of their ability.

All while there was a feeling of unease for what was about to come.


The night raged on at the Cupid Bee Car as a disco ball showered the room in lights, most partygoers dancing the night away.

"Why is it that every time there's some big ball or party or whatever, most of the partygoers are dancing like they got squirrels on their pants?" Grace asked while scanning the ballroom. "Whenever I went to a party, only a few people would be dancing. The rest would be either eating the food, or just... existing awkwardly."

"Normal parties, or fancy parties?" Simon asked with a raised eyebrow.

Grace sighed. "Honestly, after the first few, I couldn't tell the difference."

Goh, meanwhile, looked at his surroundings with raised eyebrows, pocketing his hands as he grew progressively confused.

"Somethin' wrong, handsome?" Peacock asked as she walked to the boy's side.

"Well, most of the guys here wear suits, and most of the girls wear dresses," Goh looked at himself with a small blush. "But here I am, a guy on a dress, and nobody really seems to notice."

"That's a blessing in disguise, dude," Todd remarked as he walked past the duo. "Enjoy it while it lasts."

"Ahem."

The duo turned around, and saw Chloe walk up to them, sporting a stern expression as she said:

"Goh, do you mind if I speak with Peacock for a minute?"

"Uh, I guess not?" Goh scratched his head. "I'll go talk with... I dunno... maybe that girl with the crystal ball Denizen?"

"Boa? Yeah, go see her, she's actually pretty cool," Chloe stated as she grabbed Peacock's arm. "We'll be back in a minute, don't worry!"

Peacock waved goodbye as Chloe dragged her away, Goh awkwardly returning the wave as he went to see the Ruby Sulphur Trio.

"Handsome? Seriously?!" Chloe chided once she reached Atticus and Lexi. "Did you seriously just call my childhood friend handsome!?"

"Yup, I totally did," Peacock answered with a cocky smile. "Jealous?"

"Me? Jealous? Pfft, get real!" Chloe folded her arms and shook her head. "I'd never be jealous of Goh getting more attention than me!"

Peacock nodded her head slightly. "Have you checked your number lately?"

Chloe raised an eyebrow as she obliged. "Why would I need to do tha-AAAAH!"

Chloe jumped and looked in disbelief at her number: what was once a simple "44" had jumped to an "85."

"It got bigger!" Chloe exclaimed. "Why did it get bigger?!"

"Did you seriously believe that getting rid of the static would make your number go only down?" Peacock put her hands on her hips. "Once the static's gone, the number works like any other number: work on your issues, and it gets smaller. Let them fester, and it gets bigger."

"But why did it get big just now?!" Chloe snapped, showing her number to the exasperated Peacock. "I didn't do anything wrong! I was just telling the truth!"

"The truth that you believe, maybe, but the truth that's the actual truth? Eh, no," Peacock skipped past the trio. "Now if you excuse me, I'm gonna ask Goh out on a dance!"

"Hey, wait-!"

But then, Atticus grabbed Chloe's dress and pulled her back, getting the redhead's attention as he spoke:

"Chloe, we came here to do two things: find The Innocence, and have some fun. While we're not doing the former, why don't we engage in the latter?"

"Yeah! There's games, food, a dance is coming up, we can find The Innocence later! Let's have some fun!" Lexi added, wrapping his arm around Chloe's shoulder as he added. "It'll be like that one ball we went to at the Soul Eater Car!"

"I still can't believe I took out a Kishin," Chloe laughed. "And all over a piece of pie!"

"See? That's what we need to do!" Lexi smiled. "Just have some fun while we can!"

And so, Chloe took a deep breath and began dancing with Lexi, hoping to enjoy what short break they had before things went completely off the walls.


Inside the Blight Mansion, Luz adjusted her bowtie as she scanned her surroundings, seeing several people dressed up, but nobody she outright recognized.

"Luz!"

The human girl jumped and turned around, aiming a glyph right at Edric as he added:

"You gotta try this! It's Apple Blood from one of the finest orchards!"

Luz glanced between Edric and the cup filled with the crimson drink, keeping her glyph up as she grabbed the cup, and only putting it down when she tasted the liquid.

"Hmmm... it tastes like a sweeter apple juice," Luz licked her lips and smiled. "I love it!"

"Try this too!" Emira chirped, handing Luz a plate with a piece of purple cake. "I know it might look like Abomination pudding, but it's actually Abominable Cake!"

Luz eyed Emira suspiciously. "It won't turn me into a Pseudo-Abomination like it happened with Amity, right?"

Emira giggled and shook her head. "It's actually just a cake frosted to look like an Abomination."

"Well, in that case!" Luz took a big big bite out of the cake, and moaned. "This is delicious!"

"I'm glad you like it!" Emira clasped her hands together. "If we're still alive when this party is over, I'll definitely teach you the recipe!"

Luz choked on her cake and coughed badly, pounding her chest as Edric helped her by hitting her back.

"Was it something I said?" Emira asked as Luz caught her breath.

"No, no... well, yes," Luz paused to regain her breath. "Sorry, but remembering the fact that we could very much die in here. And if we do..."

The twins put a hand on Luz's shoulders.

"Sorry if I made you worry, Luz. I'm sure we'll come out just fine."

"Yeah! And if things get hairy, we can use some illusions to help us!"

Luz couldn't help but giggle at the statement. So naive and optimistic, it kinda reminded her of herself back when she started dating Amity.

Oh how she wishes she was still that optimistic little girl...


Meanwhile, deepe