I stepped into my sister’s room and then gently laid her down on the bed. She hadn’t woken up yet, but the medical robot said that she was perfectly healthy and that she would wake up soon. This was why, despite everything going on in the mall, I left with my sister shortly after pushing the Master code into all of the robots and giving command of them to Katarina along with orders to return to the Ascension headquarters.
I planned to go ahead and return without her to make sure everyone was ready to receive them. I didn’t think Katarina and Red would have any problems returning to the base accompanied by an assortment of military tech. There were a dozen armored drones, a tank, a second power generator, and various other mobile turrets and scouts. It wasn’t necessarily equal to the Syndicate or a larger colony, but it was enough firepower to make any raider afraid.
On top of that, Sovereign Gunner and the survivors who didn’t have anywhere else to go decided to join them. Well, the robots were clearly in our control, so they were mostly following as a means of escaping the hostile area safely and without incident. Once they came and saw the bazaar, I would send them on their way and hope that they would spread the word of the place across the wasteland. We’d finally be seen as a true power.
However, all of that had to wait, because I was back home. I had used the Perco on Hazel’s wrist and teleported us both back to Earth, appearing in the warehouse where I was having Mizuki dump out supplies. I was full once again, but rather than the supplies Mizuki ordered, it was filled with things that would likely break the brain of any person from this world that saw it.
I had brought turrets, security droids, and any other supplies that couldn’t accompany Katarina home, including the medical droid and his surgery table. Any one of these things could sell for millions, but I knew there was no way I’d be able to sell them in my world. The best I could do is bring them to the base, where they would serve a better purpose than rotting under a now destroyed mall.
After that, I carefully carried Hazel back home, something that was easier said than done. Covering several miles with an unconscious woman in your arms would draw attention. Thankfully, I had found 5 doses of Stealthco among the stuff under the mall and was thus able to make Hazel and myself invisible while I returned. I was able to enter to make it back to the apartment unseen and enter her room just as the Stealthco finally wore off.
“Mmm…” Putting Hazel down had seemingly been the catalyst to wake her up, as she started to stir.
That had been entirely too close. Had she awoken in the middle of carrying her, I had already thought of an excuse, but I didn’t need to use it. I probably should have left the room, I had already cleaned myself of decontaminated both of us with Rad-B-Gone. I had left a change of clothing in my inventory for exactly that reason. As for Hazel, other than a little dirt on the bottom of her pants, she showed no signs of everything she had been through. I wasn’t going to strip and change her, so that’s as far as it went.
A few moments later, her eyes fluttered open, and she glanced in my direction. There were a few moments when we stared at each other silently, and then Hazel sat up in a rush.
“Yes?” I asked, innocently.
She looked around her room, her brow furrowing in confusion. “What’s going on?”
“You fell asleep. You were making a lot of weird noises, so I was worried about you.”
She blinked, her face still filled with confusion. “A-asleep?”
“It must have been some dream.”
“A dream…” She touched her lips and then shook her head. “No… it wasn’t a dream. It felt too real…”
“Don’t they call that lucid dreaming?” I asked.
“That’s not true!” She responded tearfully. “It couldn’t have been a dream!”
I fought to keep any expression from reaching my face. I wasn’t particularly proud of myself for doing this, but I knew it was for the best. I couldn’t allow Hazel to know what happened. That’s why I was determined to bring her back here before she woke up. If she woke up in that other world, then the bubble would have burst and all of her happiness would have been gone. I couldn’t allow that.
I put on a relaxed smile, moving to her desk and sitting in the chair she used when she was drawing her art. “Okay, why don’t you tell me what happened?”
“It’s…” She frowned as if she was trying to remember. “I was listening to my headphones. I was suddenly grabbed from behind… and things went dark. Then… then… I woke up surrounded by strange people, and explosions!”
“Strange people…” I cocked my head.
“I… heard brother calling for me… and then… your chest exploded, and you died!”
“My chest exploded…” I looked down at my chest, and then back at her.
If she lifted my shirt, she’d see the patchy skin from where I was put back together, and if she tried to touch me there, it would hurt, which was why I made sure I was out of her reach. She looked at me, and doubt started to show in her eyes, as well as some embarrassment.
“I… made the bad people go away.” Her voice was quieter now, having lost a lot of her energy, and I saw her look at her wrist, which was empty.
Of course, I had taken the Perco off the second we were home. It was now sitting with the rest of the equipment in my warehouse. I definitely wouldn’t leave the equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction on my sister, and I wouldn’t use her again in that manner.
“How did you do that?” I asked.
She grew even more embarrassed. “Magic…”
“You can use magic?” I asked.
“N-not now I can’t… but I could… I mean… in the dream…” I let out a breath as she started to accept the words.
“What happened next?” I asked.
“I… was all alone. It was cold… but then, a hand reached out and grabbed me. It was brother… and then…” Her eyes widened and she jerked. “Nothing!”
“Nothing happened!” She cried out, picking up a pillow and throwing it at me.
I dodge it. “Why are you attacking me? What happened?”
“I said nothing! It was a dream! It was all a dream! It couldn’t not be a dream.” She cried out tearfully while throwing more pillows at me.
At that moment, we heard the front door open and close quite loudly. Hazel froze in mid-throw.
“Daniel!” A loud and furious voice came from the kitchen area. “Get your butt out here right now!”
The voice was Mom’s, and she sounded extremely angry. I wasn’t expecting her back until tomorrow. That’s why I had thought everything was fine. The house was clean and there was nothing suspicious. Why was Mom angry? I could see that Hazel had a similar confusion. She stood up and followed me as I went to the door and looked out. I saw Mom with her arms crossed, glaring at me. Right behind her was Gabriella, who looked just as angry.
I looked around, desperately trying to think of what I missed. Was she angry I was in Hazel’s room? Did I forget to clean something? Did Marsh steal something that didn’t get replaced and Mom thought it was me? As all of these thoughts shot into my head, I walked out of the room with Hazel behind me.
“Y-you’re early…” I tried to give a disarming smile, but her glower caused it to slip.
“I came home early because I was worried about the pair of you. You have a lot of explaining to do.”
“Wh-what explaining?” I asked.
“Don’t play coy!” Gabriella yelled. “The gig is up. We know everything now.”
“Everything?” I frowned.
“Did you think we wouldn’t find out? We know what you’ve been doing, and you should be ashamed of yourself.”
My mind was still working furiously, trying to understand what was wrong. Even though Hazel wasn’t being yelled at, she looked like she was nearly in tears.
“I’m sorry… I don’t know what you mean?”
She raised an eyebrow. “You don’t know! You don’t know? I come home after a week, and the first thing I see when I walk in is that you have been living this entire time with a girl!”
“Admit it!” Gabriella put her fist down on the table. “You’ve been caught red handed with a woman!”
Mom reached behind the corner into a hallway, and then yanked out a young woman who was wearing a maid outfit.
“Who is this?” Hazel asked. “Wait, isn’t that my Halloween outfit from two years back?”
The girl did a curtsy. “Hello, I am Kiera, Master’s slave.”
I had completely forgotten about Kiera… Shit.