We followed him at an agonizingly slow pace to a door on a tree. He whipped it open and stepped through the wood, not bothering to explain anything. I tried to tap the bark with my hand, but it passed through just like the old man did. I took a deep breath and stepped through into some kind of medieval lab. I meant to stick my head out and tell the others it was safe to follow, but my eyes alighted on Genevieve, sitting on a bench with her beautiful hair wrapped around her, and I forgot about everything else. I strode over and wrapped my arms around her from behind, caught between laughing and being furious.

          I settled on angry.

          "How could you?" I yelled, turning her to face me and shaking her. "How could you leave me like that, how could you do that to me?" Her eyes were wide, her lips were set in a pout. I tried to kiss her but her hands pushed at me, fighting.

          "No, Ev, I haven't brushed-"

           "I don't care." I pressed my lips to her firmly locked ones and held her close, resisting the urge to shake her further. When my kiss persisted, she thumped me on the back but relented, softening her lips and kissing me back.

          "You just taste like berries," I assured her. Her mouth was always sweet.

          "If you guys are finished," Baxter drawled. "I have something you forgot." He dumped the pack for Genevieve I'd dropped onto the dirt floor and sat on the bench. "There's a toothbrush in there."

          "Oh thank God." Her hands thrust me away and she began rifling through the pack, exclaiming in delight every so often when she discovered a desirable item, like the jerky or the toilet paper.

          "If you're done fawning over each other," the old man grumbled. "We can get down to business."

          "To defeat (bum bum) the Huns," Genevieve whispered.

          I shushed her and addressed the elder. "Please, who are you and what are we doing here? And can you send us home?"

          "I can but I shan't. My name is Grimort Ecuber, and you're here to help your world- and by extension mine. So now we make a plan."

          "Plan? We don't even know what's going on!" Alex protested.

          "True, true. Very well. I shall start at the beginning."

          Genevieve groaned, but Grimort just snapped his fingers at her and she went to sulk on a bed in the corner, pulling a thick old book from under her pillow and began to read.

          "Many eons ago, a great evil was born-"

          "Short version!" Genevieve barked.

          Grimort cursed at her and began again. "An evil sorceress called Celia the Strange has enslaved mankind. She is forcing them to work to free the entity she worships, a Madrid known as Arkemshaw. If she succeeds, she will be one step closer to freeing the ultimate evil."

          "Great." Phineas sat on the floor and started digging through his bag, ignoring the rest of us.


The End

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