“I don't understand a thing you were saying,” Weston mumbled, puzzled.
“Okay, I'll help,” said Zack. “Mikey and the Synchron Organization, which began just slightly after the 21st Century, they all come from this valley called Ethion in the Appalachian mountains, in the United States.”
“A place called Ethion?”
“It's a hidden valley that no one has access to, so it won't even show up on satelite. In fact, thanks to the creation of Synchron, not even satelites can pick it up,” said Mikey. “So no one actually knows about it.”
“How did Zack know about it, then?” asked Weston.
“I'm half-Ethionian,” said Zack.
“Yeah, right.” Weston muttered. Then- “What?”
“I said, I'm half-Ethionian,” said Zack. “My mom was an Ethionian.”
“That makes us neighbors,” laughed Mikey. “I heard that part from Garrett.”
Weston blinked at Zack. “You're kidding. Then – Sky, too?”
“Not Sky,” said Zack. “Say, Weston, have you ever wondered why my last name's different from Sky's.”
Weston frowned. “Oh, right . . . wait . . . what's that-”
“We're half-brothers,” said Zack. “Sky and I have different mothers, but the same father. Only my mom was an Ethionian, unlike his. Well – actually, I took our dad's last name, but Sky adopted his mom's, so that's how it is.”
“What was your dad like? Shouldn't he be worried about you if he knew you were the Paladin? And – what happened to Sky's mom, if your dad moved on to your mom?”
Zack's expression became suddenly strange. It looked like he didn't want to talk about his family. Finally, he said, “Actually, Sky's mom died young, so my dad moved on. After that, my mom died. And a year later, my dad died, too. So they'll never know I've become the Paladin.”
“They're . . . oh, sorry,” said Weston. “That's why you're here?”
“Not exactly, I mean, I'm moving on, too. I don't forget them, but I've got to continue on without feeling bad about them.”
His expression became distant.
“If you're going to talk about family situations, get out of here,” Carter grumbled.
“Oh, I forgot that you were here, Carter,” said Zack, startled.
“Why does that feel somewhat insulting?” Carter muttered. “And Weston, you can easily search for anything about Ethion. Since Garrett became famous, Ethion's been well-known, though as a myth. And that's not the only hidden mythical place that's linked to Synchron. There are these places called Revis, Kanthor, and Yurisa. They're all linked to Synchron and the Core.”
“Three more?” Weston sounded even more amazed. “Okay, okay, that's enough. I've got enough of my fill today, I'll search myself.”
“It's not easy when you try a search online,” said Carter. “And if you guys have nothing more to ask of me, you can go. Shoo.”
Zack laughed. “Right, then, thanks for doing the search for us. Sorry to disturb you.”
Weston sighed, amused and annoyed as he followed Zack.
“Thanks for the help,” said Mikey, patting Carter's shoulder, then he closed the door behind him after the other two.