While hushed whispers of conversation emanated from half the table and open-mouthed stares plastered themselves upon the other half who remained silent, Gwendoloena cheerfully slid out of her chair to welcome the guests back home. Though obviously happy to see everyone made a safe return, it came as no surprise that she ran straight for Raynerus and lifted him up in a twirling bear hug that even included tossing him into the air.
“Dear sister, it’s grand to see you again but I must say you’re making me a tad dizzy.” Raynerus laughed and took a few wobbly steps backward after she set him back down.
“I didn’t think I would ever see you again!” As if the statement made her suddenly take notice of his appearance, Gwendoloena’s eyes widened.“But look, you’ve changed! No fangs even, how did you managed that?”
“I became a dentist.” He replied with a shrug. “It’s an occupation that involves pulling out bad teeth, helping to straighten crooked ones, and keep the good teeth shiny and white.”
“Ah, I see.” She nodded knowingly. “So then you are still truly at heart a magician.”
Raynerus nodded back. “Essentially.”
Before Gwendoloena could say a word to anyone else in the group, a shrill woman’s voice bellowed out from one of the guests sitting at the table.“Do you really expect me to believe that stranger over there is your brother? The one who used to call himself king of this pathetic excuse of a castle?”
“No, of course I don’t.” Gwendoloena turned to face the voice’s owner, Serena, who stood bent halfway over the table with a menacing scowl. “Because finding him alive and well is nothing short of a miracle and I would never assume you the sort of person to believe in such things. Fortunately however, the truth is something that never waits on anyone believing it to be real.” She put a hand on Raynerus’ shoulder and nearly shouted the rest of her words out. “He is my brother, he did lead this castle before me, and he will help put an end to your plans of ruling our world once and for all!” Gwendoloena leaned in toward him and whispered. “You are still planning to help us with that small matter even after all this time aren’t you?”
“Yes, yes of course,” he whispered back.
“Did you managed to create a way to counteract the stone puzzle’s power?” asked Gwendoloena’s next whisper.
Her brother said nothing this time but lifted up the top hat in his hand.
Gwendoloena raised a brow before continuing their hushed conversation.“Still have a thing for hats I see.”
“Of course.” He lowered the hat. “I had to start a new collection obviously but this one is my favorite of the new one.”
“No worries, I still have all 187 of the hats you left here before disappearing.”
“Splendid!” Raynerus raised his own brow at the still scowling face in front of them. “I say, Gwendoloena, you chastised that woman for plans to rule the world and both she and the gentleman sitting next to her are dressed in robes adorned with the Keepers motif. Did you happen to invite our sworn enemies to this tea party of yours?”
“Of course. I decided we should put a pause on all this war rubbish so everyone could enjoy some scones and refreshments.” She pouted at him. “It would have been quite rude not to let them join us, don’t you think?”
Raynerus gave a lighthearted sigh in return. “Still the most hospitable hostess who ever lived I see.”