Chapter 35: Fates
For the rest of the day, the family remained at Fablehaven. Ronodin and Melody had both voluntarily allowed the Sorensons to jail them down in the dungeon. As tempted as they were to interrogate their new prisoners, the family left the two of them alone, with Ronodin and Melody both relegated to their own separate cells.
As for Seth, he spent much of the day in the living room, where Victor had been placed upon the couch in a laying-down position.
Seth could not get over just how perfectly Victor resembled him. Everything about Victor was the same, right down to the last birthmark. And here Seth was, with someone who could've been his perfect brother had things worked out differently.
At one point, Kendra and Ingrid both walked into the living room, where Seth was kneeling in front of the couch where Victor's corpse was resting.
"Hey, Seth," said Kendra.
"You okay?" asked Ingrid. "I know you feel connected to Victor and everything. But did you really even know him that well? Besides the fact that he was, in a way... you?"
"I didn't know Victor for who he really was," sighed Seth. "Not by a longshot. I only got to be with him for a few minutes. And most of that time, we were in danger."
"We know he was special to you," said Kendra.
"It's what I didn't get out of all this that's upset me," said Seth. "Why did Victor have to die? I know it was an accident, but Victor could've lived! He could've lived with us! For once in my life... I could've had a brother!"
"I don't know if this household could handle another Seth," said Kendra.
Seth groaned, "You know, maybe if you didn't tease me so much, I'd be okay with not having a brother..."
"You're the one who's always teasing me, Seth."
"Would you shut up?" asked Seth, as he turned himself back to facing Victor.
"ENOUGH!" shouted Ingrid.
"Ingrid!" said Kendra. "Calm down!"
"You want me to calm down? Then get along!"
"Oh my god!" snapped Seth. "I'm not in the mood for this crap! My own clone just died here!"
"This isn't about Victor," said Ingrid. "Now listen to me! It's about you, Seth. And Kendra. I wish you two would stop fighting with each other!"
"Ingrid, we're siblings," said Kendra. "Fighting each other is practically genetic."
"I can't understand why you two fight so much! I realize people don't always get along. And I know you can't exactly pick your family. But you should respect each other. Especially during a time of grieving. You're fortunate enough to have each other."
"I'm sorry," said Kendra. "I started it."
Kendra knelt down next to Seth and embraced him in a hug. "I'm glad you're my brother," she said.
"Sister or brother," said Seth, hugging Kendra back, "I'm glad you're mine. Even if I don't always show it. I love you."
"I love you both," said Ingrid, as she joined in on the group hug that was taking place.
Eventually, the day came to an end. Seth had gotten over the fact that Victor was no longer alive, however, he felt that he would always find the thought of Victor's fate somewhat disconcerting.
During dinner, Mrs. Sorenson announced that they should look into performing a small burial for Victor at some point. Everyone agreed.
Soon it had gotten late into the evening, which meant that it was time for the household to go to bed. Seth had changed into his bed clothes and was now in his room. But, rather than sitting on his bed. Seth stared out the window, looking up at the stars that dotted the sky above.
As he observed the stars, Seth thought about how none of the fairies had returned from the Fairy Kingdom to reveal the Fairy Queen's verdict about Ronodin. What was taking them so long? The Fairy Queen had probably already reached a decision, and was no doubt just waiting to announce it the following morning. Seth understood the logistics behind such an action. But at the same time, he hated having to wait for this sort of thing.
The following morning, after everyone had awoken from a good night's sleep, the family all made their way into the dining room. As they passed through the kitchen, Kendra and Seth were greeted by Grandma, who was in the middle of frying up some hash browns on the stove.
Now that he had gotten some sleep and was eating once more, Seth was feeling a lot better inside. Still, he yearned to know what was going on over in the Fairy Kingdom.
At some point, a knock could be heard coming from the front door.
"I'll get it," said Mr. Sorenson, as he got up from his seat and left the dining room, heading towards the entry hall. "Come in," came Mr. Sorenson's voice from down the hall.
Mr. Sorenson then made his way back to the dining room, now accompanied by Bracken.
"Hey, everyone," said Bracken, as he nodded at the family.
"Bracken!" cried Kendra, as she got up from her seat and gave the unicorn a hug. "I'm so happy to see you."
"Well, it's official," said Bracken. "Mother is coming here to Fablehaven to speak to Ronodin about his fate."
"Yeah, what is it?" asked Seth.
"She hasn't told anyone yet. But we'll find out. She asks that you escort both Ronodin and Melody out of the dungeon and bring them outside when she arrives, which will be in one hour from now."
"Seems a little peculiar," said Grandpa. "But, if this is her decision, I'm not going to question it."
"We do intend to have a burial for Victor at some point as well," said Mrs. Sorenson. "Even though he wasn't officially a family member, he was a part of Seth."
"Maybe you could do it after Mother makes her announcement," said Bracken. "Ronodin and Melody would be there. And I did get the impression that they had genuine feelings for Victor."
"It's awkward," said Grandma, "but I understand where you're coming from. I guess we can do both things at the same time."
After breakfast, the family washed up and changed into their best clothes. Warren, Dale and Bracken all went down into the basement, then came back upstairs, now accompanied by Ronodin and Melody.
Melody, however, was no longer human-sized. Instead, she was back to her standard fairy size, and was fluttering in the air next to Ronodin.
"Melody, what happened to you?" asked Seth, eyeing the diminutive fairy.
"This is my true form," replied Melody. "Nothing about me has changed."
"Melody was down there all night?" asked Kendra. "How come she didn't turn back into an imp?"
"The dungeon has special safeguards and protections," replied Dale. "It's very risky and restrictive to enact such enchantments over the residence. But in a place like the dungeon, having them brings about no real harm."
"Ronodin seems awfully... quiet," said Ingrid.
"This is the calm before the storm," said Warren. "We don't know what the Fairy Queen will have in store for him."
Several minutes later, everyone had made their way out into the backyard, where several rows of seats had been set up. As they walked down the patio, Seth and Kendra noticed an open casket where Victor was now laying.
"It's almost time," said Bracken. "Everyone take a seat. Except for you, Ronodin and Melody. You two come up here with me."
The family all sat down in a row of seats that were facing the back of the house. Bracken walked up onto the patio, prompting Ronodin and Melody to follow his lead.
"Now what?" asked Seth.
"We wait," replied Bracken. "Won't be much longer."
While they waited, several other familiar faces entered the yard, including the dragons, Stargleam, Windshear, the reindeer and Newel and Doren.
A few minutes later, a line of fairy angels came walking around the side of the house. With them, in addition to the Fairy Queen, was Air Flair.
"Welcome, your majesty," said Grandpa, nodding as the royal fairy made her entrance and prompted the others to follow his lead.
"Air Flair?" asked Kendra. "Hi! Uh, we weren't expecting you, but welcome."
"She insisted on visiting when I mentioned all this," said Clover. "Wingadoon will be fine as Hope is still there."
"We heard about Victor," said Air Flair. "He may have had some angelic quality to him. Hope wanted to come as well, but one of us needed to stay behind. I must say this home of yours is gorgeous."
Once everyone was seated, the Fairy Queen proceeded to clear her throat, bringing an end to all the chit-chat that was going on between the audience members.
"Good morning, everyone," said the Fairy Queen, who was standing on the top step of the patio, facing the audience that sat before her. "Before we begin, I'd like to take a moment to pay tribute to Victor."
"I'm... sorry," said Ronodin, as tears started to form up in his eyes.
"None of us knew much about Victor," said Seth. "But I could relate to him. "He was a lot like me. Not just in appearance, but in personality."
"He would've been a lot like you, Seth," said Ronodin. "But admittedly, my former self didn't care about that. He was just obsessed with gaining power. I just wish we had more to say about him as an individual, rather than drawing parallels."
"He didn't have a chance," said Mrs. Sorenson. "But if he was anything like you, Seth, then he was a wonderful person. Just remember that."
The Fairy Queen nodded. "Okay then. Ronodin, I ask that you stand before me."
"I understand," said Ronodin, sounding understandably hesitant as he walked up to the Fairy Queen.
The Fairy Queen took a good, long look at Ronodin. As Ronodin remained still, the Fairy Queen slowly walked around him, studying him intently as though his body was a work of art.
"Ronodin," said the Fairy Queen, "I do not detect any sort of darkness lingering within you. You no longer appear to be the unicorn who defected from our kind. How do you feel?"
"Relieved," replied Ronodin. "But also sad. I've committed many horrific acts, especially recently. Even though the darkness that compelled me is gone, I still feel guilty." Ronodin then sighed. "How long will I be locked up for?"
"I don't know if locking you up is all that necessary. Provided you've learned from all this."
"Believe me. I have. But, if you're not locking me up somewhere, what do you intend to do instead?"
"I believe that given the situation at hand, you deserve some sort of parole. You won't be completely free, but you won't be jailed either."
"What's this all about?" asked Ingrid. "What if something goes wrong?"
"This wouldn't be the first time something like this has happened," replied the Fairy Queen. "Shayflee, would you come forward please?"
A small, yellow fairy came whizzing towards the Fairy Queen from off to the side somewhere.
"Shayflee?" asked Seth. "Who's she?"
"You may not recognize her now," replied the Fairy Queen. "But at one point, this Fairy was best known to us as Obivion."
"THAT'S OBLIVION?" gasped Kendra. "I mean, I know she's different now, but..."
"This is her true self, now completely free of darkness. You see, Oblivion, I mean... Shayflee, has been free from the darkness that had consumed her for months. The fairies have been keeping a constant watch on her, just to be safe, but her behavior has been excellent. I figure that if Shayflee could redeem herself, it's only fair to give Ronodin a chance."
"You really mean it?" asked Ronodin.
"That's correct," said the Fairy Queen. "You and Melody both. You can't just take off, as you'll be living under some form of supervision. But so long as you don't cause any more trouble, you'll be fine."
"Oh, thank you!" hummed Melody.
"Question is," said Bright, "where exactly are Ronodin and Melody going to end up?"
"They could come back to the Fairy Kingdom," said Shiara. "It's where Shayflee lives."
Shayflee nodded in approval.
"This place seems beautiful to me," sang Melody. "Couldn't I just stay here?"
Bracken scratched his cheek "I suppose so... You're power isn't very strong anymore. Still, I'd have to keep an eye on you, as you well know. Of course, Passion, Larissa and Goldenrod could watch out for you as well."
"You mean it? I don't intend to bring about any more harm at all!"
Bracken smiled and nodded. "If it's okay with the Fairy Queen."
"Approved," said the Fairy Queen. "Now, that just leaves you, Ronodin. And with all due respect, you're a much bigger concern to our kind than Melody was."
"Understood," said Ronodin, looking at the yard that stood around him, before stopping to stare in one specific direction. "Um, would you excuse me for a moment?"
Ronodin walked down the steps of the patio and made his way past the row of chairs where everyone was seated.
"Excuse me!" quipped Grandpa, "But where do you think you're going?"
Ronodin walked up to the spot where Stargleam, Windshear and Air Flair were standing. He appeared to be in awe, his mouth hanging wide open.
"Another unicorn..." said Ronodin. "And two pegasi?"
Stargleam and Windshear pressed their sides together, then lowered their heads in unison. Ronodin then took a good look at Air Flair, who didn't have someone to side with.
"You're... you're beautiful..." sighed Ronodin. "And you're a mare, too."
"What do you want from me?" asked Air Flair.
Without responding, Ronodin transformed from his human avatar into his unicorn form. As many members of the crowd had yet to see it through their own eyes, they were all astonished at what they saw, and Air Flair was no exception.
"Don't you dare get any ideas, Ronodin," said Bracken.
"I would never allow any harm to befall this beautiful creature," said Ronodin, as he gently tapped Air Flair's forehead with his horn. "What's your name?"
"Air Flair," replied the pink pegasus, sounding understandably nervous.
"Are you happy living here at Fablehaven?" asked Ronodin.
"I don't live here. I'm just visiting."
"Are there other pegasi where you're from?"
"Not anymore," replied Air Flair, shaking her head. "I'm the last one, along with Windshear."
"I know how you feel."
"If you're really not bad anymore, maybe... would you like to visit... Wingadoon?"
"Air Flair, no!" exclaimed Kendra. "Your home is a very special place! Ronodin cannot go there!"
"I understand just how sacred Wingadoon is," said Air Flair. "More than anyone else here..."
"Wingadoon?" asked Ronodin,. "That place is still intact?"
"Kendra's right," said the Fairy Queen. "We cannot allow Ronodin to visit Wingadoon. It's too much of a risk."
Air Flair stood up on her hind legs and brought her front hooves down against the ground. "Now you listen to me! I want to be with Ronodin! My kind is on the verge of extinction! I can't pass up this phenomenal opportunity. I need him. Even if he has lived a very shady life."
"I don't appreciate it when others talk down to me," said the Fairy Queen. "Still, I understand your concern. But it doesn't change the fact that..."
"Your majesty!" said Clover, as she walked up to the Fairy Queen. "I must tell you something in secrecy and it cannot wait."
"Very well. Tell me."
Clover stood next to the Fairy Queen and placed her face up against the side of her head. She slid the Fairy Queen's hair away from covering her ear and whispered something to her. The Fairy Queen nodded once Clover had finished.
"Very well," said the Fairy Queen. "Ronodin, you are welcome to go back to Wingadoon with Air Flair."
Most members of the crowd gasped.
"It's quite all right," announced the Fairy Queen, as she raised her hands in a gesture. Clover will have things under control. But, Ronodin. If you so much as even think of causing the slightest amount of trouble, you will answer to me."
"I'm turning over a new leaf," said Ronodin. "In fact, I wish to put my past behind me, and be known as Ronodin no longer."
"What do you mean?" asked Bracken.
"Ronodin is the name which everyone associates with a dark unicorn. But even then, I had a goal that had good intentions. And that is to someday try and make this world a better place. Thus, from this moment forward, I am choosing to go by Ronodin no longer. From now on, I'd like to be known as Keenheart."
"Keenheart?" asked Kendra. "As in Jeremy Keenheart?"
"Precisely. While the name was little more than a pseudonym, it truly did come from my heart. Dark horns or no dark horns."
"Very well," said the Fairy Queen. "Keenheart it is, then."
"Thank you," said Keenheart. "And when we travel to Wingadoon, I'm going to do everything that I can in my power to improve it."
After the Fairy Queen had finished talking, she brought the gathering to a close by dismissing everyone who was in attendance. Most of the fairy angels, as well as the Fairy Queen herself, were getting ready to return to the Fairy Kingdom. Likewise, Keenheart, still in his unicorn form, had moved off to one side with Clover, Air Flair and Warren. The entire Sorenson family were all standing before them.
"Well, this is it," said Clover. "If you're ready, Keenheart, we'll be off to Wingadoon."
"I'm so nervous," said Keenheart. "I've heard tales about Wingadoon, but I can't even begin to imagine what it looks like."
"Spoiler alert!" said Warren. "It's breathtaking. Absolutely stunning."
"You'll love it," said Air Flair.
"Can you really handle Keenheart, Clover?" asked Kendra. "You know... just in case?"
"I assure you there will be no just in cases," said Keenheart assuredly.
"If I can't handle him, Hope and Air Flair will be there to assist me," replied Clover. Along with all of my students."
"Are you sure we can we still trust him?" asked Ingrid.
Clover sighed. "Kendra, Seth, Ingrid, come with me." She then looked over to face the other family members. "We'll just be a moment. I need to talk to these kids alone. If you'll excuse us."
Clover walked around the side of the house, while Kendra, Seth and Ingrid followed her.
"Clover, what's this all about?" asked Seth.
"Do you want to know what I said to the Fairy Queen earlier?" asked Clover.
"Uh... yeah!" replied Ingrid. "How and why did you convince her into thinking that sending Keenheart to Wingadoon was a good idea?"
Clover smiled as her eyes lit up. "Wingadoon has some special properties to it. You see, the city's protective magic is constantly working to cleanse itself of darkness. It's not instantaneous, but it will kick in before long. If somehow all that Keenheart has been telling us has been nothing more than a facade, then Wingadoon's power will completely obliterate him. His betrayal would be over before it even started."
"That actually sounds pretty harsh," said Kendra, who was having a hard time absorbing what Clover had told them.
"We're giving Keenheart a second chance," said Clover. "If he hasn't changed his ways, and there is still darkness lurking within his soul, he will not be getting a third."
"Understood," replied Kendra, as Seth and Ingrid nodded in approval.
Clover and the kids then made their way back to where the others were still waiting around for them. Off in the distance, Melody was flying about, singing a song, while a group of fairies trailed behind her.
"What was that all about?" asked Mrs. Sorenson.
"You'll find out soon enough," said Seth, not wanting to reveal the truth in front of Keenheart.
"Well, this is it," said Warren, as he twisted the Translocator. "We're off to Wingadoon!"
"Thank you so much for you help," said Keenheart, as he bobbed his head down and set his horn upon the Translocator. "I hope I can repay you for your efforts someday."
"Of course," said Grandpa. "Just make sure to stay out of trouble from now on."
"Oh, he will," said Clover, nodding towards Kendra, Seth and Ingrid.
"Goodbye, everybody!" said Air Flair, as she set one of her wings onto the Translocator, concealing Keenheart's horn and the hands of Warren and Clover.
"See you in a flash!" said Warren, as he reached his other hand underneath Air Flair's wing and twisted the Translocator. In an instant, Warren, Clover, Air Flair and Keenheart all disappeared.
"You know something?" said Kendra. "I'm proud of all of us. Even though we were unable to save Victor, we did manage to redeem Ronodin. I mean, Keenheart."
"Yeah," said Ingrid. "Besides, I don't think the world could handle more than one Seth."
"HEY!" snapped Seth.
"I'm just kidding!" laughed Ingrid, concealing her mouth with her hand. "Come here, you!"
Ingrid then threw her arms around Seth and embraced her brother in a hug. Seth smiled, as he in turn hugged her back.
A/N: Be sure to check out the tenth and final story, "Queen of the Mythical World"!