It was getting close to the end of the day. The sun was beginning to set and the noise of the crowd in the distance was beginning to fade, people were closing their shops and packing their market stalls away and heading home. Dinners were being cooked and children coming home from school, however at the top of the apple tree hill Kalt and his sisters were still playing with the hero.
For four hours now they had played tag, rope skipping, summersaults, climbing trees, snow ball fights (thanks to a little magic from the hero) and were just on their final round of hide and seek.
It was the hero’s turn to seek while Kalt and his sisters hid, Walt and Raru had been sitting by the trees watching the children the whole time and had for a little while joined in the snow ball fight but stopped when Kalt, his sisters and the hero all ganged up on them. Walt still had a little bit of snow on his hat that he hadn’t brushed off yet and Raru kept on checking her dress to make sure that there wasn’t any more snow on them.
The hero had just finished counting to three hundred and forty one which was apparently his favourite number and raised his head from the tree and looked around to try and find the kids.
Walt quickly asked him before he went looking for the kid “so err, tell us umm, Xectix aint’ it? Why would yee only speak to kids?” He hadn’t had a chance to speak to him alone yet and now was probably his best chance.
Xectix turned and looked at him, smiled and replied “because adults aren’t as fun as children I think, after all I only came to Yuit for a quick break as a hero for some fun with children Hee Hee Ho Ho!”
Raru suddenly interjected “I’m sorry Xectix sir but I really need to ask you a question about our son Kalt.” Xectix look turned more serious and looked at both of them. “But we don’t have to ask you now if you prefer to play with the children more...” Raru felt rather embarrassed at Xectix’s silence.
“I know” he said flatly “it’s been on your minds ever since you got here and don’t worry about the children, the girls are hiding in the bushes behind you and young Kalt is in a tree ten feet away from me”
Raru suddenly got more courage and raised her voice in excitement “then please! You’re a hero; tell us, has our son got potential to be like you? A hero I mean?”
Xectix’s face did not change “it would seem that way but these things are very delicate, I was wondering if young Kalt had any potential as he does act like one...since we’re on the subject, would you mind if I perform a little test on young Kalt to see if he does have a chance to be a hero?
Both Walt and Raru were very happy with this news and both hastily agreed to let Xectix do it, Xectix smiled and jumped and clapped with his feet (Walt and Raru were both very used to Xectix’s strange behaviour now so it didn’t bother them much.) Xectix used one hand to point to the tree and the other hand to point to the bushes.
“Ok come on out everyone I see you” the girls fell out of the bushes laughing and Kalt climbed down from the tree disappointed. When the kids got back to their parents and the hero Kalt noticed loads of little twigs on the ground.
“CAREFUL! One of those twigs is Henry young Kalt! Could you point to me where he is please, I’m afraid I lost him Hee Hee Ho Ho!”
'Bit stupid to leave his stick weapon lying around with other sticks' Kalt thought.
“HEY!” cried the hero.
Kalt didn’t know which stick was which; they all looked the same to him so he just pointed to one lying near his left foot “I think it’s that one Mr Hero sir.”
The hero walked over to it and picked it up and quietly shook his head with a little disappointment on his face. “Well kiddies it’s time to say goodbye now, it’s getting dark and I need to move on ahead and go do hero stuff.”
The kids stopped and looked at the hero with their faces in sadness, one of Kalt’s sisters began to cry. “Aww...” said Kalt, tears began to swell up in his eyes “will I... will I ever see you again?”
The hero got on his knees and looked at Kalt “you have your whole life ahead of you young Kalt, should you ever leave this town then we might meet on one of your journeys, and I will hope to hear some fun stories from you.”
The hero smiled widely exposing his yellow teeth and patted Kalt’s head. “Who knows what tomorrow will bring young Kalt? Only one thing can be certain, something different will happen each time Hee Hee Ho Ho!”
The hero stood up and looked at the sun while Kalt stared at him in admiration. "A hero...that’s what I want to be one day, I promise you” Kalt said loudly.
The hero turned and looked at Kalt “promises can’t always be kept young Kalt but do your best.”
At those final words Kalt turned and walked with his sisters to the gate onto the road back into town with a huge grin on his face. “Well? What was the test?” Raru asked once the kids were out of ear shot.
“I am sorry” Xectix said with a sad look. “I wanted Kalt to pick up Henry, if he did then he would have felt the call of a hero’s weapon and had a chance to become a hero. But there are some things people can’t do sometimes. Even still it can be harder for parents as well, the life of a hero is dangerous and parents worry too much. I am sorry, but Kalt can never be a hero”
Both parents were utterly gutted.“Well...if that’s the way things are supposed to be, let em’ be I say. I’d say ee’s right Raru, we’d worry too much if the son became one of em’ heroes” Walt said reassuringly to his wife “c’mon lets geet ome’ love.”
Raru was still a bit sad but thanked Xectix for a fun afternoon and left with Walt to catch up with the kids.
Xectix walked back over to the twigs with the one Kalt picked up still in his hand, all the twigs then disappeared except for the one in his hand. Xectix looked at the real Henry and chuckled “yes, sometimes it’s for the parents own good, but that child has a future about him. A future with a destiny I think Hee Hee Ho Ho!”
At that last word, he vanished.