Lauren hugged her daddy's leg, half hiding her face. She peeked out when Jas lovingly patted her head, "It's okay, baby girl. You don't need to be afraid."

"Yeah, we're right here with you." Muscles assured, he knelt to his daughter's level and gave her an encouraging smile. Lauren smiled back, glancing out at all the kids running around acting wild and laughing. This almost felt like a park, but it wasn't. It was school. There were a few faces she recognized from her play dates at the park, but there were so many she didn't know.

"Jas, Muscles?" A new voice called. Both her daddies looked and smiled, with her papa offering a man with vibrant red hair and soft red eyes a firm handshake. "Simon, it's good to see you. We haven't seen you in years."

The man, Simon, chuckled and nodded, "I've been busy. I'm here dropping off my youngest. Sari." He gestured to a little girl with dark skin, and red hair, around Lauren's age. Lauren was captivated by the dark gray wings she sported, neatly folded against her back. She was chasing another kid and nearly tackled them to the ground. Simon saw and huffed, before calling to her, "Sari, we've been over this, this isn't a hunting ground." He turned back to give Jas and Muscles an awkward smile, "Persephone has been taking the kids out hunting recently. I think it's a bit early, but I suppose she feels it's time. Sari, over there, enjoys practicing her skills and she can get a bit carried away." His red eyes then dropped down to Laurne and immediately he cooed at her, kneeling to her level, "Well, hello little one. Is this your first day of school?"

Lauren bit her lip and hid her face in Jas's pants leg.

"This is our daughter, Lauren. Lauren, sweetie, this is Simon the Silent, he's a good friend of Princess Sofia."

Upon hearing the princess' name, Lauren glanced back at Simon.

Simon hadn't changed all that much since Jas and Muscles last saw him. His hair was long and flowing and was deep red. His eyes, while not as intimidating as they once had been, were still red though a much more kindly shade that showed his caring nature. He wore a white shirt and black pants. He was still a fairly strong sorcerer but never used his full potential unless necessary. His wife, Persephone, should be noted as having not changed much either. She was as active a flyer as ever and often could be seen gliding over the Mystic Isles during the nicer days than anything. Simon, Persephone and their family continued to visit Orion and Vega, As well as venturing to Persephone's birthplace to help the children learn of their Roman roots.

"You're friends with Princess Sofia?" Lauren asked. Simon nodded, "I am. She's told me a lot about you and your fathers. I actually have a daughter around your age, do you want to meet Sari?"

Lauren nodded.

Sion stood up and called to his youngest, "Sari, come over here princess!"

Muscles couldn't help but chuckle to himself. Jas nudged him playfully, "What's so funny?" He whispered. Muscles smirked, "I'm just remembering how Simon used to be. He was a difficult person to be around. Basically a brat when he first came to the Isles, but now look at him, a doting father and husband. It's amazing that a lot of us had villainous backgrounds but after coming to the Mystic Isles we changed for the better and even started our own families as a result. It's like this place gives us all a second chance."

"I would say it's all thanks to Sofia, but I think you're right too. Something about this place, just makes us want to better ourselves." Jas agreed. He looked down at his daughter, who was watching Sari race to them excitedly. He thought back to his first year in the Mystic Isles. He had been heartbroken after losing Hopscotch, devastated even. He thought for a time he would never move on, never be truly happy. But here he was now, years later, with a wonderful husband and an amazing daughter. Time does heal wounds after all.

Simon knelt to Sari, "Sweetheart, I want you to meet a few friends of mine. This is Jas and Muscles, and here is Lauren Butterford. This is her first day of school. Do you want to introduce yourself and see about being her friend?"

Sari blinked her matching red eyes, the same shade as her father's, at Lauren before a wide, toothy grin overtook her face and she threw out a hand, "Hi! I'm Sari! Nice to meet you!"

Lauren was taken aback by the energetic girl but smiled in kind and shook her hand, "I-I'm Lauren. Nice to meet you too."

Sari's eyes shimmered with excitement, "Do you want to play tag? I'll be it!"

"Sari," Simon said, "If you play tag, be sure to be nice to the other kids, okay?"

Sari nodded eagerly, "I will, Daddy, I promise. By the way, where's the mommy? Is she here too?" Sari looked up at Jas and cocked her head, "Are you the mommy? You don't have any boobies. I thought mommies are supposed to have boobies."

Simon immediately shushed his daughter, trying to salvage what little dignity they had left. Like Persephone, Sari was blunt and tended to speak her mind, whether or not it was appropriate.

Jas' face turned several shades of red at the little girl's questions. At the same time, Muscles struggled not to laugh at her bluntness. He knew children didn't have much of a filter, but dang, this was something else. He stifled a laugh upon noticing Jas's warning look. If he didn't control himself, he might end up sleeping in another room tonight.

"I don't have a mommy," Lauren answered, while Simon frequently apologized for his daughter's behavior. "My daddies say they chose me and that my mommy couldn't take care of me, so she gave me to them."

"That's sad," Sari pouted, "I have a mommy and she's really nice. She hunts deer, goose, and sometimes my big sissy and bro help her. She likes hunting boar the most 'cause they're easy to smell." Sari leaned close to whisper to Luarne, "Boars like to rub poop on themselves, so that's why they're super smelly."

"Ew!" Lauren cringed, "That's gross."

"I think it's funny," Sari laughed, She jumped with excitement, her eyes twinkling like rubies, "Do you want to play with me? I promise I won't try to hunt you."

Lauren looked a little apprehensive at first before her eyes shifted to pink quickly and she nodded, "Sure." Her voice was a little deeper and less shy, which didn't bother Sari much. Sari was more interested in playing to notice Lauren's sudden change. Or perhaps, she just didn't think it was anything to be concerned with.

Quickly, Sari seized Lauren's wrist and they dashed off to play. Simon smiled and waved, "Be careful!"

"We will!"

Simon laughed and looked to Jas and Muscles, "Kids are amazing. If you don't mind me asking, I heard a rumor that Lauren is duo souled, is that true?"

"Yeah, it's true," Jas nodded. Muscles stood next to him, slipping his arm around Jas' waist. "Lauren has two souls, one of which belonged to Sara. You might have heard of the Tainted Ten, she was a member."

"Tainted Ten," Simon frowned, "I remember them. Most of us were locked inside a cell. Persephone, myself, and our children were locked inside a single cell. Thankfully we were together, but Chise was very sick and Aristotle was only about a year old and he couldn't be consoled. I remember that you sacrificed yourself to..." He stopped realizing that the memory was still painful. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything. Please, forgive me."

"There is nothing to apologize for," Jas reached to hug his husband who in turn rubbed his cheek in Jas's hair. Despite it being years since the events of the Tainted Ten, Muscles and Jas continued to rethink the events that had happened. "Sara gave up her life to revive mine," Jas explained, "And a little while later, shortly after Muscles and I got married we met her reincarnation. As it turned out, Sara made a friend in the afterlife and decided to come back. We didn't expect to adopt any children, but the moment we saw them, we fell in love."

Simon chuckled a little, "I understand how you feel. The moment I held my kids I loved them all more than I could ever imagine. It's a wonderful feeling. I never thought I would have the family I have right now. My wife, our three children, and my cous-"

"Hey, cuz!" Simon grunted as Wesley sprung upon him, giving Simon a massive bear hug. "Wesley..." Simon grunted out as his cousin practically squeezed the life out of him, before dropping Simon back on his feet. The blond sorcerer laughed merrily, smacking Simon's back, "I was hoping to see you. You surprised?"

"Yeah, actually I am," Simon sputtered, "Why are you here, I thought you were starting your new job today."

"This is my new job! I'm going to be a field teacher and help the kiddos learn more about plants and stuff." He turned and waved at Sari who screamed and raced to tackle Wesley to the ground. Simon rolled his eyes, his daughter loved to pounce. Lauren hurried to her dads, while Wesley and Sari wrested a little.

"This is my cousin, Wesley," Simon introduced, 'He's apparently a new teacher here."

"So he's the one who's been courting Chrysta, huh?" Muscles chuckled. He and Jas had spotted the two together a few times, acting strangely cute together. Never in his life did he think he would see Chrysta act almost bashful around someone. Jas had passed the knowledge onto Sofia as both were terrible gossipers to one another, and Sofia of course saw the courtship coming a mile away.

"Yeah..." Simon scratched the back of his head, feeling a little awkward. He liked Chrysta, she was mostly like an older sister to him, but having her as an actual family felt a little strange. Still, she loved the kids and the kids loved her. He knew that Wesley and her were planning to elope at some point in the future as neither was interested in traditional wedding ceremonies. As for children, Simon knew from Wesley that it had been discussed, and both his cousin and Chrysta agreed on being child-free. They didn't hate children, but neither were interested in being parents.

Sari jumped off Welsey, who lay on the ground with his eyes closed and his tongue hanging out, playing dead. Simon nudged Wesley with the toe of his boot, "Wesley get up."

"I can't hear you, Simon, I'm dead."

Lauren giggled, and came to Wesley's side, "Did Sari kill you?"

Wesley didn't answer, as he was still playing the role of being dead. Simon laughed and immediately scooped up his daughter when Sari flew in for another attack. "Alright, princess, you gotta tone it down a little."

"But Daddy, I'm playing!"

"I know," Simon kissed her head, "But class is going to start soon so you need to calm down and listen to your teachers. Wesley, get up, the bell's ringing." He gave his cousin a light kick in the side. Wesley opened his eyes and immediately hopped to his feet. "I'll see you guys later." With that he ruffled Sari's head and took off to the school, hurrying in before the students.

Muscles picked up Lauren and the small family, along with Simon and his daughter, went inside. The school wasn't huge, but it did have to house a lot of different varieties of students, from children Giants to small pixies. Thankfully, with some specialized enchantments, the school was equipped to handle them all no matter the size or species.

Jas went to the front desk to sign their daughter in, while Lauren grew anxious about being there. She bit her lip, taking in all the different boys and girls excitedly waiting for their class to start. "Papa, I want to go home." She whimpered to Muscles.

"Why baby girl, are you worried about something?"

"I don't want to be here," she sniffed and cuddled close to her dad. Muscles cooed and kissed her head, "Baby girl, it'll be okay. Me and your Daddy will be back to see you later on today. You're going to have a ton of fun."

Lauren shifted in his arms a little, seeming to consider his words. Jas returned, "She's all signed in." He took Lauren into his arms, "Are you excited, Lauren?"

She shook her head, "Not anymore. I want to go home."

"Awe, baby girl, it's alright." Jas said sweetly, he didn't like seeing his daughter upset, "You're going to make a lot of new friends. Like Sari, she's a nice girl."

"I guess so, but Sara says she's pretty wild."

Jas nodded, before kissing his daughter's head, "Yeah, but is that a bad thing?"

Lauren shook her head, "No, it's not, Daddy. But what if the other kids don't like me?"

"What's there not to like?" Muscles asked, "You're sweet, kind, and a very happy little girl. The other kids will love you. " Lauren didn't say much, Jas decided they needed to hurry inside before they were late. He rubbed his daughter's back while carrying her to her classroom. Each wooden door was numbered going from one to nine, with each digit hanging proudly on the door, all with an individual color. Classroom One was painted a lovely shade of blue, it reminded Jas of his mother's ribbon, which he had tied securely in Lauren's hair that morning before leaving.

The classroom held several kids, probably nine or so. One of them was Sari, who was playing with a doll with a few other children her age. The teacher, a young woman in her early twenties stood near the door and greeted them. "It's nice to meet you, what's your name?"

Lauren hid her face in her dad's shirt. "She's a bit shy," Jas explained while rubbing her back. "This is Lauren Butterford, our daughter.?"

"It's nice to meet you, Lauren. I'm Mrs. Braidy, your new school teacher." She gestured to the kids, "These little ones will be your new friends." Jas and Muscles sat their daughter down. Lauren immediately wrapped her small arms around Muscle's leg, crying, "I don't want to be here!"

Both husbands felt guilty, this was an important milestone in her life. "Sweetheart, it's okay, you're going to have a fun day today," Muscles patted her head lovingly.

Lauren whimpered, feeling unsure and lost. She didn't want to leave her daddies, ever. She whimpered and buried her face into her dad's leg, "Nooo! I don't wanna!'

The teacher smiled in understanding, having been through this more times than she cared to count. It was expected that children at this age don't understand the important need to be more independent. Carefully, she knelt down to Lauren's level, "Sweetie, do you like dolls?" Usually, she would allow the parents to do their thing and be parents, but she could tell that Jas and Muscles were a bit stuck at the moment.

Lauren didn't answer, continuing to hold on to Muscle's leg with an iron-clad grip. The teacher continued, glancing up at Lauren's parents, "How about you three play with some of the dolls we have? Would you like that, dear?'

Lauren sniffed and glanced at her shyly before nodding.

"Okay, the toys are over there, pick whichever one you like."

"Come on, baby girl, let's go play," Jas said taking Luaren's hand. He smiled in thanks at the teacher who winked in knowingly.

The family of three went to the corner of the room where a wooden chest overflowing with toys sat idly waiting. Lauren eagerly grabbed a clothed doll, with yarned pigtails and a sunny yellow dress with white flower prints on it. Her eyes flashed pink briefly as she stared at the design, lightly caressing the fabric. Jas noticed this and made a mental note to himself. He knelt just as Lauren's eyes returned to their usual brown color. He and Muscles each took a turn playing with Lauren, using some of the provided toys. It wasn't until Sari raced over with her toy, that they saw their out.

Sari, ever rambunctious as always, was eager to play with Lauren. She held up a figurine, that looked much like herself minus the wings.

"Alright, children, it's time we start our class." Miss Braidy said with a clap of her hands. The students all quieted down and watched her with their full attention. "We have a new student today, Lauren Butterford, and I want all of you to treat her nicely and with respect. What does respect mean, can anyone tell me?"

"Be treated like you want to be treated?" One student said, remembering an earlier lesson on the subject. Miss Braidy nodded eagerly, "Yes, very good, Craig, that's exactly right. Now remember to treat Lauren the way you want to be treated." The other students nodded before they went about their business playing with their toys and each other. She looked to Jas and Muscles, "Don't worry, the first is usually hard but she'll do just fine." Lauren was already playing with Sari, the two girls dancing their toys around with Sari narrating a thrilling mystery involving a magic princess and a missing shoe. Neither husband was sure what the story was about, but Lauren seemed invested and was playing along too.

"Okay, baby girl, your papa and I are going to leave. Do you think you'll be okay here for a little while?" Jas asked, Lauren looked at him and Muscles then nodded. The two men gave their daughter a hug and kiss, then left. It was bittersweet, yet they couldn't be happier. Their daughter was growing up and neither couldn't be prouder.


The school was scary. Lauren concluded after her dads left, there was a strong sense of loneliness that followed shortly after they left. She kept looking at the door expecting her dads to return immediately, but the seconds stretched to minutes and her disappointment grew into fear and the feeling of being unwanted.

"Lauren, they'll be back," Sara whispered in her mind, and a wave of comfort followed. Lauren realized at that moment, that she was never alone. Sara had always been there, she'll always be here. That made her feel much better. She continued to play with Sari, who was very imaginative and came up with tons of different scenarios and plots involving adventuring and magic, both things Lauren liked.

"Alright, children, it's snack time, everyone lines up!" Miss Braidy said, putting down a tray of treats for the kids. Lauren hurried in line but was suddenly grabbed by her arm and thrown back. A boy with rusty hair and brown eyes sneered at her, "Get in the back!"

Before Lauren could say anything, Sari raced in and hissed at the boy, displaying her sharp fangs while also beating her tiny wings in an intimidating display. The boy yelped stumbling back and falling on his rear. He broke down into a fit of sobs.

Mrs. Braidy, alerted by the boy's crying, hurried over, "What's going on?" The boy pointed at Sari, "She pushed me!"

"Did not! You tried to hut Lauren, you big bully!" Sari yelled back, Lauren remained quiet, unsure if she should say something or not. The other kids kept to themselves, not wanting to get ostracized if they tattle tale. The teacher sighed to herself before setting to boy in a chair with his snacks before speaking to Lauren and Sari. "The next time that something like this happens, you need to tell me, alright?"

Lauren bit her lip and nodded, while Sari huffed and rolled her eyes.

Snack time came and went before the children were settled down for their naps. Lauren laid under a warm blanket, struggling not to cry, she was so used to her daddies putting her down for a nap, it was hard to sleep without them. Thankfully she did fall asleep after the teacher read a story about one of The famous princesses, Rapunzel, and how her husband Flynn broke her out of the tower. She giggled quietly at the mention of the horse, Maximus fighting Flynn with a sword while Flynn had only a frying pan to defend himself with.

"Psst!" Chise hissed to her from her small mat, they were lying next to one another. "Psst! Lauren, hey, you want to see something cool?"

"What is it?" She inquired curiously, keeping her voice down so the teacher wouldn't notice they were talking.

Sari grinned, "Think of Flynn and Rapunzel." Lauren nodded and brought up a mental image of the duo and of course, Maximus and Pascal. Sari's eyes flashed, and suddenly the whole room seemingly melted away, and was replaced by the scene of the tower with Rapunzel swinging down on her long rope of golden hair. Lauren gasped, she could feel the grass beneath her hands, the cool blades tickling her palms. She could smell the wonderful flowers, and feel the warm air brush past her lightly. "Wow, how did you do that?" She asked once the spell wore off. Sari grinned and pointed at her eyes, "My momma taught me. We can make iluwzions."

"Sari, are you keeping Lauren awake?" Ms. Braidy asked, walking over to them. Sari winced, sinking back, "Sorry."