Chapter 8: The Prophecy

Dr. U'xil's office was already full of activity as Alpha Xyndani rose over the tree-covered mountains on Xyndas' distant horizon. The three Rangers that were currently on the planet were sleeping in a hospital guest room, awaiting any news on Jilmara Sriloam. Ax'on was the first to wake up. He looked across the room at Medulla and Brandon, sleeping comfortably in each other's arms in a nearby chair. The two of them were also waking up.

It had been a long night, and the doctor had no definitive answer for Jilmara's condition. He suggested that the trio spend the night at the hospital if she ever emerged from what could be described as a "psychic coma".

"I think we should go check on Jilmara," said Ax'on, rising from his chair.

"You go ahead, lover boy," Brandon responded. "You're the one who saved her, after all. Hero's prerogative."

"I suppose," Ax'on said. He got up and took a few steps to the door before looking back at his sister and future brother-in-law. "Or…do you two just want to make out?"

"In a hospital room?!" Medulla asked. "You're sick. I've gotta talk to Brandon about how to handle Mr. Perveson back at the palace. He actually wants to duel Brandon tonight for my hand."

"Duel…over an engaged pregnant woman?" Ax'on shook his head in disgust. "What is this, Jerry Springer?"

"Yeah—all we need now's Nathan to play Steve," Brandon joked. "Maybe we should talk to the queen about it," he continued in a more serious tone.

Ax'on nodded, and began to make his way down the hall past numerous narvanils. A male narvanil saw Ax'on and began to approach him. He had dark blue hair and pink eyes, and wore a green-and-gold Xyndanian Guardsmen uniform with a diamond-shaped badge on his chest.

"Good morning, my liege," the man began as he bowed before Ax'on. "I am G'wytt Sriloam, Jilmara's father."

"Pleased to meet you," replied Ax'on. He tried to sound as regal as possible, standing in a hospital hallway in a sweaty T-shirt and worn-out pants. "My mother and sister appreciate all the support you and the rest of the Royal Guard have given us in these difficult times."

"You are quite welcome, my liege." Mr. Sriloam bowed again. "Your mother has informed the other Guardsmen and me that the funeral shall take place tomorrow. Have you obtained any word from Earth?"

"The other Rangers of Eternity are doing all they can, Mr. Sriloam," said Ax'on. "The criminal will be brought to justice."

"Very well, Prince Ax'on. I will be praying to the gods for you and your family in this terrible time of tragedy. But now, I must adjourn to the Royal Guard Headquarters." Mr. Sriloam shook the prince's hand and went on his way.

As Ax'on watched Mr. Sriloam walk away, he saw a group of male narvanils dressed in long, fawn-colored robes approaching him in the opposite direction. Clerics on Xyndas often made regular visits to hospitals all over the planet to pray for the patients. As they passed Ax'on, one of them recognized the prince, stopped momentarily to bow, and then continued on his way. Ax'on surmised that the clergymen were probably returning to the large monastery on the surface of Udis, Xyndas' largest moon.

Ax'on made his way to Jilmara's room, where he saw Dr. U'xil examining her. Futuristic-looking machinery filled the operating room as Ax'on entered the automatic doorway. A large, elevated apparatus emitted a beam of red light onto Jilmara's chest. Dr. U'xil, who appeared to have not slept for some time, worked ardently to stabilize Jilmara's condition. A panel on the wall above the bed indicated her vital signs as several nurses monitored them, typing data into small, cylindrical computers.

"Attempt to compensate for the neurological disruptions by stimulating the patient's telepathic cortex," the doctor ordered one of his nurses in Xyndanian. "These readings are absolutely unfathomable. It is almost as if she has acquired telekinetic abilities."

"Any luck, Doc?" Ax'on asked.

Dr. U'xil jerked his head up in surprise. "Oh, Ax'on—I failed to sense you standing there." He sighed. "The condition of Jilmara is still quite grim. The structure of her telepathic cortex has been altered—almost as if she has evolved ten thousand years in merely a few hours."

Ax'on approached the bed. He knelt beside Jilmara and held her hand. "Doctor, do you think that you could…"

He did not have time to finish the sentence. In the next instant, the hospital room around him vanished into darkness, and the young prince found himself in a large cathedral. In front of him stood a huge statue depicting a two-headed narvanil holding a giant spear. It was the Xyndanian god of life and death, L'vea. Astonished, Ax'on stared at the statue for a few seconds before scrambling to his knees to bow before it.

"Ax'on?" a female voice called. He turned to see Jilmara wearing a long green-and-white gown. Her purple hair flowed in the breeze. "I have awaited your arrival. Welcome to the Lair of the Gods."

Inside the guest suite, Medulla and Brandon were preparing for the ball later that night. Medulla was elated with the idea that no would-be suitors would be after her hand anymore; however, she and Brandon both did not see the need for a fight to break out. Despite this, they knew that Rantor had to be dealt with in some way.

"I still can't believe Rantor wants to dredge up a tradition that was abolished centuries ago!" Medulla exclaimed. "It's asinine! It really is!"

"I know, Medulla," Brandon sighed. "But you know what the worst part is? This dance is about your dad." He leaned in and caressed Medulla's face. "And us. Rantor just wants to be a jackass. He's got no idea what I could do to him with my abilities, and I really don't wanna use 'em unless I have to. I just hope your mom'll denounce this whole thing." He leaned in and gave Medulla a quick smooch on the cheek. "All I wanna do tonight is dance with my princess, eat some Xyndanian chow, and call home again. Only question is, how're you holding up?"

Medulla looked at her fiancée with heavy eyes. She had been concerned with her family more than herself, and had tried to hold it together for a long time now. She was angry that someone killed her father and she could do nothing about it. She was angry that her father would never see his grandson. Slowly, Medulla walked to the window and looked out, catching sight of two large, yellowish-green birds. The strange birds had two heads situated on long, flexible necks, and two pairs of wings. The birds swooped into a nearby lake, searching for food.

"I've just been holding it in, I guess," Medulla sighed. She watched the birds swoop onto the lake, similar to the way the brown pelicans of Earth do. "For all our sakes. I'm angry at whoever the murderer is, and I want the others to find him as much as Ax'on does. I just hope that when they find him, Dad's spirit can be at peace. Do you think Danny will be able to handle it?"

"Absolutely," Brandon replied without hesitation. He leaned over her shoulders and began to caress them. "He's a great leader. And up here, you got me to help you adjust. Anything happens tonight, I'll be ready. I know you're angry. The whole team probably is, but we're gonna face things together, and that's gotta count for something."

"Thanks, Twister," Medulla said. "You always know what to say to me to make me feel better."

"Hey, have you thought about the wedding?" Brandon asked. "What kinda style you want it in?"

"I was thinking of having a traditional Xyndanian ceremony here in a few days, and then one on Earth." Medulla smiled and leaned in to kiss him. "You're gonna like it."

"Cool," Brandon replied. Before the couple's lips could touch, a nurse ran into the room. She had disheveled pink hair, wore a white-and-green uniform, and appeared to be out of breath as she struggled to speak to the princess.

"Princess Medulla," the nurse panted. "Your brother is in y'lomb! He touched Jilmara and has since united with her. Dr. U'xil has attempted to sever the connection, but Ax'on just continues to stand there as though he is a sculpture. He does not even breathe!"

Brandon and Medulla ran to find Ax'on in the exam room, holding Jilmara's left hand and sweating profusely as the doctor examined Ax'on's vital signs. Dr. U'xil tapped the buttons on his computer as he motioned for the two heroes to enter the room. Instinctively, Medulla attempted to contact Ax'on telepathically.

"Ax'on?" Medulla screamed psychically. "Little bro, can you hear me? You need to let go of her hand!"

"It is ineffective, Medulla," the doctor sighed. "I cannot get contact. However, I am finally detecting telepathic activity between Jilmara and Ax'on. I cannot discern the meaning of it, however."

"Sorta like a private phone call?" Brandon asked, trying to understand telepathy.

"Yes." The doctor nodded. "The only action we can do now is to observe."

In the deep, mysterious recesses of Jilmara's mind resided Ax'on, sitting on a set of stairs that led to an ornately furnished shrine. Jilmara sat down beside him, and placed one arm around him and the other on his chest. She could feel his heart beating like a big bass drum.

"Is something wrong?" Jilmara asked as she rubbed his chest.

"This…is the Lair of the Gods?" Ax'on inquired in disbelief.

"Yes," Jilmara replied. "The Xyndanian gods brought me here to tell me something of vital importance."

"W-what is that?" asked Ax'on.

"First," Jilmara began, "the spirits evolved me fifty thousand years, thereby bestowing me with telekinetic powers. I believe you have already deciphered this."

"Yeah," Ax'on said. "We passed that junction about fifty miles back. But what does that have to do with…"

"Much, Ax'on," Jilmara interrupted. "The spirits also added a special sense of empathy in me. They evolved me because the spirit of your father asked them to do so." She paused for a second as she looked deeply into Ax'on's eyes. "Your father desires for you to be King of Xyndas."

"Me?!" Ax'on asked in disbelief. Despite being a prince, he was hardly interested in assuming the throne. "But…but what about Medulla?"

"Your sister has a different path," Jilmara explained. "Your father desires for you to rule the planet. Your soul is strong, Ax'on. Like your father, you are an incarnation of Serram."

Serram, the Xyndanian god of justice, was a symbol of truth, justice, fairness and law in Xyndanian society. According to legend, he was the first King of Xyndas. As such, he was most associated with the royal family.

"Me? A-an incarnation of Serram?" Ax'on asked, trying to take all this information in. "You mean…Dad was an avatar?"

Jilmara nodded.

"Well…w-what about Medulla? Why isn't she an avatar?"

Jilmara smiled as Ax'on looked into her violet eyes. She wondered how she could tell him that Oruvien had also told her she was to be his queen. Jilmara was transported to the Lair the night she was brought to the hospital. It was here that she encountered Oruvien's spirit, who told her everything she just told Ax'on.

"Your destiny differs from hers," Jilmara explained, looking deeply into Ax'on's eyes, wondering what it would be like to be his queen. "You are a twin, which is almost unheard of on our world. And as females almost never inherit qualities of the avatar, the sacred blood was passed to you. Besides, Medulla has another role to play in the future. Her child must know both Earth and Xyndas. She has found love elsewhere for a reason."

Jilmara smiled. She wanted to kiss him right there, but she had to wait until they were back in the real world. She continued.

"Your path will lead you here." She gestured to the area around them. "This is the Trinspalan Monastery in the State of Trinspa. Here you must find the Sword of Serram."

"Trinspa?" Ax'on asked. "That's quite a drive, isn't it?"

"I shall help you once I awaken." Jilmara helped Ax'on to his feet. "Your friends are now attempting to separate us. They shall soon succeed. Goodbye for now, my Prince…"

Before Ax'on could ask any more questions, he was engulfed in a black, swirling void, which knocked him unconscious. When he awoke, he found himself lying of the floor of the emergency room, with Medulla, Brandon and the doctor looking over him as he came to. Brandon took Ax'on's hand and began to help him up. Dr. U'xil rushed to check on Jilmara, whose eyes opened for a second, looked at Ax'on, and then closed again.

"Her brain patterns are stabilizing!" the doctor shouted, fascinated by the data. "She…she is making a full recovery! If I could hazard a guess, she should be completely recovered by tomorrow!"

"Great, Doc," Brandon said as he helped Ax'on to his feet. "God, you weigh a ton, dude."

Ax'on did not say anything. He was panting, as though he was out of breath.

"Uh…you okay?" asked Brandon.

"Trinspalan Monastery," Ax'on panted. "Sword of Serram. Gotta go."

"Huh?" Medulla asked. "What are you talking about? Ax'on, you were only out for, like, ten minutes."

"Felt like a lot longer," Ax'on responded. "You wouldn't believe what just happened to me. I talked to Jilmara inside her mind or something. She told me that Dad wants me to be king. She told me to go to Trinspa to get Serram's Sword."

"Huh?" Brandon asked.

"Long story," Ax'on replied. "I've gotta get going." He began to make his way to the door.

"Uh," Medulla began as she grabbed her brother by the arm, "maybe we should do that after we catch Oglarm."

"Yeah," Brandon added. "Right now, we need to get back to the palace and get ready for the ball."

The royal children nodded in agreement. As they all started back to the palace, Ax'on looked back. He promised that he would return after the ball to see how Jilmara was after experiencing the strange vision. Palace guards saw the trio make their way home, and promptly opened the main doors for them as they darted inside to let the queen know of their whereabouts.

After being informed of her children's whereabouts, the queen returned to her bedchambers to prepare for the ball. As she donned her makeup, she stared longingly at a picture of Oruvien on the dresser. She recalled her and her husband preparing for previous balls, and smiled at all the times her young children would come into the room, asking Mommy and Daddy to help them get dressed.

Idru could hardly believe that her daughter was getting married and having a child. She reflected back on her own wedding to Oruvien. It was mere days after the last Nrekk spacecraft had left Xyndas. The leader of the Nrekk, the evil dictator Symnop Si-Tikslsl, had been exiled to a remote asteroid with no contact with the outside world. The battle for Xyndanian independence had been won, and in celebration, Idru's father oversaw a lavish ceremony outside the capital city of Tu'rok, declaring the freedom of the narvanils, and two hearts becoming one. The centuries-old monarchy was reinstated, and Oruvien's father had his only son take Idru's hand in marriage.

"Your highness?" a voice called, snapping Idru out of her daydreams. "Your highness, we are prepared for your arrival."

"Hmm? Oh…" Idru smiled at a green-haired woman in her early twenties. "Very well, Uelmik. Shall we be off, then?"

"Your children and Brandon McPherson are also getting ready, your highness," Uelmik explained. "I believe that they are quite anxious to see you."

"Well, we shan't keep them waiting any longer," Idru said. She approached the door, her imperial purple gown billowing behind her. "If Rantor does decide to intrude upon the festivities, I do not want a fight to break out. Oruvien would not approve."

"Security shall be unyielding, your highness," Uelmik stated. "The guards that are not present upon the palace grounds are still pursuing Oglarm."

"Excellent," the queen replied. "I will not have him ruining the party, either. My daughter deserves the best."

Idru had vehemently decided earlier that the duel would not take place. To her, it would be inappropriate, considering the ball was to honor the king, and Idru wanted a proper venue to announce Medulla's engagement. Idru knew that Medulla had a hard time with suitors, and wanted everyone to know she was off-limits to anyone but Brandon, whom she held in highest regard despite him being from Earth. She felt the same way about all the Rangers of Eternity, and wondered about them as she looked out the window at the star-filled sky.

Night fell on the palace as preparations were made for the ball at which the queen would make a formal announcement of her daughter's engagement. The palace's ballroom had a polished red floor made of fine Xyndanian gourd-tree wood, bizarre-looking potted plants, a buffet table, and a marble dais for the royal family to speak on. Behind the stage, an ivory staircase led to the royal family's wardrobe rooms.

In one of these rooms, Medulla sat at the vanity. She was dressed in a black-and-yellow gown made of a fine Xyndanian fabric similar to silk. The gown had yellow shoulder straps, a V-neck, and a bare back. Brandon dressed himself in a black-and-gold Xyndanian suit he had borrowed from Ax'on. Medulla watched Brandon in the mirror as he adjusted the suit to his liking.

"There we go…that should just about do it," Brandon said as he straightened his collar. "Suit's a little tight, though."

"Don't look at me," Medulla said. "You didn't have anything else to wear except that black suit you wore in New York." She placed on dark blue lipstick while looking in the vanity mirror.

"I'm gonna hit someone again," Brandon said. "Is that asinine congressman gonna be here?"

"Daddy's cute when he's mad, isn't he, little Oruvien?" Medulla cooed as she looked at her stomach. "But don't worry—we know what's best for him."

Brandon placed his arms on Medulla's shoulders. "You're awesome, you know that?"

"And you're a kiss-up." Medulla craned her neck behind her and kissed Brandon, staining his lips slightly blue from her lipstick. "You, uh—might want to wipe that off."

Onstage in the ballroom, a Xyndanian Guard announced the arrival of Idru. The queen approached the podium as the band took its place on the left side of the stage. Somehow, she sensed Oruvien's presence as she began to speak to the crowd.

"Tonight," she began as a hush fell over the room, "we honor King Oruvien Aramar, and celebrate his entry into the afterlife. Our good king would have wanted us to continue on, and on this night, we celebrate the life of the man who helped free us from a brutal decades-long enslavement. However, this is not all we celebrate this night. As many of you already know, there is a momentous occasion in Xyndanian history that quickly approaches us. Tonight, we also celebrate the royal engagement of my daughter and future son-in-law, Medulla and Earth's Brandon McPherson!"

At this introduction, Brandon escorted Medulla down the ivory-colored staircase. They waved to the people as everyone applauded.

In the back of the ballroom near the buffet stood Rantor, dressed in a dark green tuxedo, his deep crimson hair pulled back into a short ponytail. Scowling, Rantor looked daggers through Brandon and Medulla as they descended the steps. He could not believe Medulla would marry someone who was not of her species.

"I am honor-bound to save you from this Earthling, milady," Rantor said quietly to himself. "I do not understand what you see in the human, my princess, but I shall prove myself to you. I swear it…"

The applause died down as Medulla took the podium from the queen. "Thank you, mother," she began. "Ladies and gentlemen, as happy as I am about my upcoming wedding, tonight is about my father more than my fiancé and I. After all, he deserves it so much more. Our father was a great man who deserved this day to be his and his alone. But, it is true that I have forsaken any suitor on this planet as the first princess to marry someone from another planet. My fiancé is the father of my child, and there is no one on Xyndas that can change my mind. I have loved Brandon for a long time, and there is no one that I'd rather spend the rest of my life with."

Ax'on smiled slightly as he stood next to his mother. He was tempted to ask Idru if he could take the podium. Ax'on had decided that he wanted to resign his position on the Rangers of Eternity and stay at home to help his mother in ruling the planet, learning from experience how to be a king.

"Mom, I don't know if I'll be going back to Earth to rejoin the Rangers," Ax'on told the queen in a private telepathic conversation. "I'm thinking of staying home and helping you."

"Are you sure?" Idru inquired as she moved her eyes to look at her son.

"If it's all right…" Ax'on said as he looked at the ground.

"My son," Idru began, "I shan't force either of my children to make any decision they do not desire to make. You must choose your own path. If you think it's best to do so, you do not need my approval. All you two need to do is keep your head high and face the future."

"Thanks, Mom." Ax'on smiled as he saw Brandon leading Medulla to the dance floor and thought about what Jilmara said. "We all have different paths now."

"Yes. I am happy Medulla has found love, no matter what species her choice is." The queen smiled. "I sense you're also growing fond of a certain girl. You and your sister are growing up, and your father would be so proud of you both."

Brandon bowed as he took Medulla's left hand and led her down from the stage. The band began to play soft music as the two began to dance. Medulla gazed into Brandon's eyes and smiled, euphoric to be engaged to the man of her dreams. Brandon felt the same way, fortunate to have found a soul mate in Medulla, whose beauty that night made him feel like a king.

"Nice night, huh?" Brandon asked as the band played a soft Xyndanian melody using horn-like instruments and a strange instrument that looked like a xylophone placed on its side with holes in the top, but sounded much more like a piano.

"Excuse me," Brandon heard a voice call from behind him.

Brandon ignored it. He continued to dance with Medulla as Ax'on made his way to a refreshment bar near the stage. As he poured himself a glass of punch, Ax'on began scanning the room for signs of Rantor. He was well aware that if he showed up, he would probably cause trouble. Ax'on also kept an eye out for Oglarm and the two ladies-in-waiting who inexplicably vanished.

"It is a very nice night, honey," Medulla said.

"Thanks, I—"

"Excuse me," said the same voice, louder this time.

"Ignore him…" Medulla smiled as she continued to dance close to Brandon. "Maybe he'll go away."

"Excuse me!" the voice growled again, growing angrier in tone.

"What an awesome band," Brandon remarked, trying with increasing difficulty to maintain a patient tone of voice. "Very neo-rock-like. These guys know anything by Nickelback?"

"Excuse me!" Rantor snapped as he punched Brandon in the nose.

"Ow!" Brandon winced as he was shoved away. "What the hell?!"

Rantor began to hold her very close—close enough that the baby inside Medulla was beginning to feel a cramping sensation. It pleaded to know where Daddy was, and who the man pushing Mommy's stomach was. Medulla was fighting every urge to drop Rantor flat on his face, and Brandon's face burned red with an intense anger that everyone in the ballroom sensed it. Medulla tried to tell him to remain calm or there would be a riot scene in the room.

"I'll take care of this," Medulla telepathically told Brandon. "You just try to remain civil."

"He punched me in the damn nose!" Brandon exclaimed. "Being civil's the least a' my worries!"

"My dearest Medulla," Rantor began, looking at Medulla like a lovesick puppy. "I am so sorry I must dispatch your 'fiancé'."

"Oh, you've got every reason to be sorry," Medulla muttered as the baby sent more negative emotions to her. "Besides, didn't you hear my mom? No fighting!"

Brandon stood by the two dancers with his arms crossed, tensing up at the sight of Medulla dancing with the suitor. He was on the verge of strangling the man. Ax'on joined him on the sidelines and tried to keep him calm. He had never seen Brandon so angry, even in the heat of a battle.

"Brandon, you can't start a dust storm in here," Ax'on said. He could see the anger in Brandon's eyes.

"Can't I?" Brandon asked. "Your mom just told the people we're gettin' married in a couple days. Junior ain't happy either, you know."

"That's a given. But, you know something?" Ax'on asked. "If Mom did allow the fight, you'd win, hands down."

Rantor twirled Medulla on the dance floor as if she was some kind of trophy. She repeatedly looked past her would-be suitor to see Brandon's eyes glaring daggers through Rantor as Ax'on attempted to calm him down. Medulla tried to break Rantor's grasp a few times, but was unable to do so.

"You smell positively divine, your highness," Rantor said as he sniffed her neck. "Is this the odor of a new perfume?"

"Don't…do…that…" Medulla said through her teeth, forcing a smile. "My…baby…doesn't…like it."

"And how is the little one? Is the 'half-breed' doing well?" Rantor asked jeeringly. He clutched Medulla's stomach, only to be answered with a painful slap across the face.

"My baby would prefer for me to dance with his father," Medulla snapped. She took Brandon by the hand.

"You got that right, princess," Brandon said. He kissed her on the cheek. "Let's get outta here, eh?"

As Medulla and Brandon tried to continue their dance, Rantor glared into the back of Brandon's head. After a few seconds, to everyone's shock, Rantor tackled Brandon in the back. The crowd gasped as Brandon and Rantor rose to their feet, eyes locked.

"Oh, it's on now!" Brandon shouted. Sand began swirling around his body as he lifted his arms to his chest. The queen quickly took the stage again and began to speak.

"Gentlemen, please," Idru began, attempting to be the voice of reason. "I did not want a fight to break out under these circumstances. But, if you must…"

"Say the word, Mom…" Brandon muttered as he curled his hands into fists.

"If you must fight, do it outside…" Idru sighed, shaking her head.

Brandon grinned as he formed the beginnings of a sand devil under his feet. He grabbed Rantor by his ponytail, and shot upwards as the sand devil grew to about fourteen feet in height. Then, with Rantor struggling in his clutches, he made his way out the ballroom door and into a large courtyard in the middle of the palace. Many of the invited guests ran for cover as Brandon flew out of the ballroom, dragging an exasperated Rantor. Brandon threw the suitor in a small pond, causing the small three-eyed, fishlike organisms living in it to scatter for cover.

"I warned you," Brandon growled. "I warned you at the temple, but you didn't listen, did you? I'm not an average human! I could cut that ponytail off your head in two seconds, you racist bastard!"

"Are all you pink-skins this belligerent?" Rantor sputtered. "My honor states that I must have Medulla's hand in marriage, Earthling. She is glorious in her beauty, and she shall be mine."

"Give me a freakin' break," Brandon grumbled. "I'm tired of you horny suitors going after my soul mate. We're bonded mentally, and besides, we got a kid on the way."

Medulla and Ax'on ran out to the courtyard to assist Brandon. Rantor raised his hand to Medulla, water trickling from the corner of his mouth. The narvanil's crimson suit was now covered in brown mud. He shook his head as if to ask Medulla to help him up. Medulla backed away slowly as Ax'on gave the suitor a dirty look and looked at Brandon, a cloud of sand swirling around each of his fists.

"Medulla," Rantor began to plead. "Surely you cannot love this belligerent fool. He is not even your species! Please, say that your love is not so!"

"I'm sorry," Medulla said matter-of-factly as she turned away from Rantor. "I love Brandon, and there's nothing in this universe you can do or say to convince me otherwise."

"Ax'on…" Rantor continued as he raised his other hand. "Please…help your countryman. You must help me dispatch this…this glorified ape who stole the heart of your sister!"

Brandon looked over at his friends crossing their arms and back to Rantor. "I don't think they want to do that. Besides, didn't you try to kill Medulla yesterday? Talk about multiple personalities. And, who you calling an ape?"

"Yes, I know…" Rantor grunted as he struggled to his feet. "But I have changed. Medulla, you are so magnificent. How could you marry someone who is not of this planet?"

"Easy," Medulla snapped. "Travel every once in a while! Besides, where were you when my father died? Where were you when we first arrived on Earth?"

"Er…" Rantor hesitated. "I…was…with the guard, protecting you, my princess." Rantor moved to kiss Medulla's hand. As a response, Medulla fired a shot of kinetic energy into Rantor's stomach, knocking him to the ground.

"That…hurt…" Rantor remarked.

"That was nothing compared to the beating you could get from my future brother-in-law over here," Ax'on said. He motioned to Brandon, who already had a small whirlwind of sand forming around his feet.

"You shall pay for this…" Rantor muttered as he pressed a button on his belt. "You have no idea what the Grodds have planned." With that, Rantor teleported away in a flash of light.

"What's a 'Grodd'?" asked Brandon.

"Hell if I know," replied Ax'on.

No one was quite sure what Rantor was talking about as they returned to the palace's ballroom to see many guests leaving after catching a small part of the argument in the courtyard. The queen remained on the stage, discussing matters of state with a few dignitaries from all over the planet such as the whereabouts of Oglarm, Olinasha and Mittna. The Royal guard had no leads thus far.

"Your highness, we have not been able to find Oglarm D'Orbjornnan anywhere," a male narvanil in a blue-green police uniform with indigo hair sighed. "It is as if he vanished off the face of Xyndas."

"Keep looking, Osmelix," the queen sighed. She motioned for the trio behind the officer to go off to bed. "Those two ladies have not reported for work, either. We must find them before they get a chance to strike."

"Guess we'll check out what these 'Grodds' are tomorrow," Ax'on remarked. He shrugged as the three made their way to the hallway. "Wish we could have gotten more out of that scumbag. I'm gonna head back to the hospital to check on Jilmara."

"You may get your chance yet, dude," Brandon said. He placed his hand on Ax'on's shoulder. "Go check on your girl. I don't think we'll be able to find 'em now. Guess we'll go retire for the evening. We'll talk about those 'Groggs', or whatever the hell they're called, tomorrow and tie up some loose ends around here."

Ax'on smiled, patted Brandon on the shoulder, and ran out the palace doors headed for the hospital. He wished he hadn't stayed so long doing what he called "prince duty" while Jilmara was staying in the hospital. He wondered what the vision meant, and prayed that Oglarm and his accomplices were caught before he headed to the Trinspalan province.