Causality by Snorb

Authors's note: This rather stupid little story is inspired by one of the more... equally stupid things you can do in Phantasy Star III. Unlike the other stories I have, this has no bearing whatsoever on the overall PS timeline; it's just something I felt like writing based on one of the more... infamous PSIII moments.

AW 2294, Landen

This was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives—he was supposed to be married, he and his new princess were supposed to receive the adulations of their subjects, and then the honeymoon...

Rhys sighed, looking around the dungeon cell he had found himself in. He could still remember Maia's screams as the dragon took her into its claws...

"Damned Orakians!" the drake bellowed, "Princess Maia shall never be yours!"

Rhys's hands flew to his left hip, reaching instinctively for his sword; a sword he realized all too late was not there. Even still, he screamed and prepared to launch an unarmed attack on the dragon. The dragon effortlessly flicked the blue-haired prince away with a swat of its tail, then lifted from the ground.

With his wife-to-be, her blue eyes radiating helplessness as she struggled to free herself. "Rhys!" Maia screamed. "Get up, Rhys! Please!"

"Ungh... Maia! Release her or suffer, foul spawn of Laya!"

"Rhys, please! Help me!"

And then she was gone, taken Orakio-knows-where by the dragon. The assembled guards in the throne room murmured to themselves, and as Rhys regained his footing, he glanced forlornly at the ruined skylight.

"Reiki, dearest, this is terrible..." he could hear his mother say.

"I know... do you think this had something to do with Maia's past?"

"You don't think she... Maia seemed so perfect."

"Anne," Reiki paused. "You've heard the rumors. Someone once saw her bring a wilted rose back to life by touching it."

"Father..." Rhys started as he approached the throne.

"We should conduct a search party," Anne told Reiki, as if she hadn't heard the prince.

"Yes. A small band, searching the forests and mountains near Yaata and Ilan..."

"Father."

"But, Reiki... God forbid, what would happen if we found Maia—"

"ACKNOWLEDGE ME, DAMN YOU!!"

Both Reiki and Anne turned, surprised, to Rhys. "Yes, Rhys?" his father asked, wondering about Rhys's sudden outburst.

"Father, I'll find Maia. Even if I have to search for the rest of my life, I'll find her! I'll even bring the army with me. If a Layan was responsible, we'll destroy every last one of them!" Rhys boomed. The soldiers in the throne room secured their helmets, mobilizing to march behind their prince as he stormed out of the throne room.

"Rhys Beckett Landen!" he could hear his mother shouting. "You stop right where you are! What kind of attitude is this, 'I'll bring the army to destroy Laya's clan?'"

"Rhys, nobody's even seen a Layan in a millennium. Don't be a fool," Reiki continued.

"I'm not being a fool! If you won't commit to finding the woman I want to marry, then&dmash;"

"Rhys, starting a war's an irrational thing! Perhaps it would be best if you cooled your head for a while..." Reiki motioned to his guards. "Take him down to the first cell. Maybe there he can think about his responsibilities as the prince of Landen!"

"Dear, is this really necessary?"

The two massive guards flanked Rhys, locking him into powerful armlocks. He dragged his heels as he was led away, and his glare fixed upon his father. "You really think this is going to stop me from leaving, Father!?" Rhys screamed. "I'm gonna find Maia, and I'll bring her back here! I SWEAR IT!"

And then Rhys was left to himself in the cell. It had the usual accouterments a typical cell of its construction would have: steel-barred door, unforgiving gray stone walls, bed made of junk rags, and a corroded metal bucket in the corner that the blue-haired prince knew "was emptied once a day, whether or not it needed to be." Unlike the other cells in the dungeon, however, Rhys noticed there was a small chest next to the bucket that contained a small dagger, a GPS monitor, and 300 Meseta worth of coins. As he sank onto the rag pile, Rhys said to himself, "So, how am I gonna get out of here? Maybe if I wait and sleep, someone'll be by to break me out..."

This thought lasted only a second. "Yeah, right. Lena's good with locks, but she's not that good."

"Hey! Shut up in there, will you!?" one of the guards called from down the corridor.

Rolling his eyes, Rhys tensed himself, stretching on the pile of rags. Unsurprisingly, he couldn't get much in the way of comfort—and it wasn't just from the cast-aside cotton and wool remnants he lay upon—the prince kept feeling a small bump in his pocket.

Pocket... pocket!

Reaching into his pocket, Rhys took out a small ocarina, its perfectly smooth green surface reflecting the chest in the corner of the cell. He glanced down at his bare feet; the shopkeeper at one of Landen's general stores had taken a particular interest in the prince's boots, and made an offer to trade something marvelous for them: a magical ocarina (or so the shopkeep claimed.) Why nobody, from the guards to his parents to even Maia herself, commented about Rhys attending his own wedding in his socks seemed very unusual to the prince, but he soon shrugged the thought off as he turned the ocarina over in his hands, examining its blue-green glazing.

"Best trade ever," Rhys mused as he gave the ocarina a toot. He felt a sudden sensation of weightlessness, and once his weight returned to him, he found himself once again between the two guards, at the foot of the dungeon's stairs.

"Huh. That was something," he muttered, watching the guards carefully. They only stared straight ahead, seemingly not noticing the prince. After a minute, he waved his hand in front of one of the guard's faces. There was no response.

"Weird..." Rhys tapped his chin in thought, then smiled. "Let's see if this gets your attention... Hey, guard! I'm escaping! Better go beat the crap out of me!"

The guard remained impassive at his post, as did his partner. Rhys was confused. Why did the guards not jump at the chance to pound his teeth down his throat? Undeterred, he decided to further get their attention. In a low, growly voice, he said, "How very clever! But it is only a matter of time before your world is destroyed!" Then, in his normal voice: "Silence be quiet! ...I think I messed that up..."

Still nothing from the guards. He pointed his fingers at them like needle pistols, then with a raspy voice, Rhys teased, "I know what you're thinking... 'Did he fire four hundred fifty shots or only four hundred forty-nine?!' Well, to tell you the truth, I kinda lost count in the confusion myself, but considering that these are Dostovoi .44s, the most powerful needle guns in Alisa III and capable of blowing your head apart in one shot, I guess the question to ask is, 'Do I feel lucky?' Well? Do I... punk!?"

Not even a smile. Minutes passed, as did the impersonations Rhys was going through. Finally, in a noble voice, he told "himself" "I have been... and always shall be... your friend." Then, again, in his normal voice, ".....Bullshit."

Once he got tired of making a fool of himself in front of the guards, Rhys sighed with irritation. "Nothing at all? C'mon, what's wrong with you guys?! You're some of Landen's finest men! Father didn't mean literally stand guard when you had your assignments!" He gave one of the guards a healthy backslap, then jumped back a step as the guard fell face-first, revealing his true nature: The guard was merely a life-sized cardboard cutout of a uniformed soldier.

"What?!" Rhys exclaimed. He examined the other guard, revealing that he too was only a life-sized cardboard standee. Rhys's hands clenched in anger and incomprehension; how could two cardboard cutouts defeat and imprison the Prince of Landen? he wondered as he ascended the stairs back into the throne room.

The sight before him was even more surreal. The throne room was, as usual, guarded by its usual contingent of four guards, each of whom was very much real. None of whom moved to attack that dragon while it stole Maia away, Rhys grumbled as he stepped up to them. "You there, guards," he started.

"Oh, Prince Rhys! We're not ready for the wedding ceremonies just yet..." one of the guards replied.

"What are you talking about?!" Rhys countered. "The wedding was two hours ago! And my bride was carried off by a foul dragon! And here you are just casually chatting away—"

"Prince Rhys, I believe Miss Maia is waiting for you in your bedchambers," a second guard interrupted, moving between his fellow and Rhys. "Perhaps you should escort her to the throne room."

"I... I already did!" Rhys stammered, confused. "You saw her—all of you!"

"Ah, Miss Maia... if such a thing were possible, she looks even more beautiful than usual today. If I may say so, you're quite the lucky prince."

"Please hurry, Prince Rhys! You don't want to be late for your own wedding!"

Rhys sweatdropped. He realized he had the same conversation with these four guards earlier in the morning. That must have been one hell of an ocarina, he thought as he turned around to enter the throne room. He was relieved to see that the skylight was still broken, confirming to Rhys that he hadn't traveled through time with the ocarina's tune. He bypassed the gathered guards, glaring at his father on Landen's throne. "Father," he started. "We need to talk."

"Rhys! How did you get out of the dungeon!?" Reiki demanded, surprised to see his son again.

"That's not important! Why are the guards in the dungeon only cardboard standees?! And these six guards, too! They're only cardboard cutouts and Lego statues! Father, what is going on!? Don't we have the Meseta and prestige to hire soldiers?"

"I..." Reiki sighed, lowering his head in shame, then after a second or two, looked back to his son, realization dawning upon him. "You used an Escapipe, didn't you."

"Is that what they're called?" Rhys wondered. "I did... I traded my boots for those in town. Why?"

"Rhys, using an Escapipe to get out of a cave or tunnel is usually a smart move, in case you run out of Monomates or your travel companions can't use Res anymore, but in this case..."

"Father? What are you talking about?"

"I'm afraid you broke things. Things that were found so late in development that they couldn't be fixed without severely delaying the end result of the tale. Our generation's story can't continue, Rhys."

Rhys's eyes reduced to small black dots. "...What." he managed, his jaw hanging slack in stupefication. The expression on his face made it painfully clear that he was utterly confused by what was going on, and any explanation would have helped him immensely.

"I'm sorry, Rhys. There's no other way about it. Causality itself is broken. You're stuck here. Forever."

"No. Father, if everything I've heard so far is true, and if I'm right about how things work, then Maia's still waiting for me in my bedroom," Rhys realized. "I'll be back in an hour, Father!"

"Very well, Rhys. I wish you success in your endeavor," Reiki replied as he watched his son reenter the dungeons. "Can you do me a favor? Hit the F5 key on your keyboard on your way out? Reloading the page in the web browser should clear things up."

F5 key? Keyboard? Browser? WHAT is he talking about? Rhys wondered, making his way back through the passages beneath Castle Landen. He makes this sound as if we were just characters in a story.

Minutes later, Rhys reemerged in the city, stepping out of the strangely-abandoned Technique Center. Despite the dragon's raid on the castle, everyone in Landen seemed cheerful, wishing Rhys well and for his and Maia's marriage to be a happy one. This is bizarre. Everybody's acting as if Maia hadn't been kidnapped at all, he thought as he made his way towards the castle. On the other hand, neither had the guards... Maybe.

The castle's massive onyx gate was still open, surprising Rhys; there had been no time of mourning declared, to his relief, and he strolled freely into the castle. After several corridors' worth of turning and maneuvering, he soon passed the throne room, the four guards still standing guard just outside it. "Guards," he said. "Good... good morning? Good afternoon?"

"Morning, Prince Rhys," one of the guards said. "Please excuse us; we're not quite ready for the wedding festivities just yet."

"I thought not."

"You're a very lucky man, Prince Rhys, if you don't mind my saying so," another guard chipped in. "Miss Maia somehow seems—"

"—even more beautiful than usual today, I know, I know." Rhys sighed. "I'll... whatever. I'll go fetch her now. Please excuse me."

Patiently, the guards watched Rhys disappear down one of the castle's corridors. "Prince Rhys!" he called to the prince. "Miss Maia's waiting for you in your room! Please hurr—"

"I'm not gonna be late for my own wedding!" Rhys shouted back as he moved deeper into the castle. The walls and decor seemed to stretch on for ages as he finally approached his bedroom. Just as it had before, a parchment sign with "Temporary Bridal Chambers- No peeking, Rhys! <3" in Maia's handwriting pasted to it. Calmly, Rhys pushed the door open...

He smiled at the sight before him: A stunningly beautiful cyan-haired woman clad in a pure white wedding gown; the very personification of serenity. "Maia!" he called to her. "You've... you've come back!"

"....."

"Maia, are you all right?" He took her into his arms, feeling relief wash over him as she returned his embrace. "I thought I lost you forever when that dragon took you..."

There was still no answer from Maia, but she rested her head on Rhys's shoulder, giving a peaceful smile. Her hands gently ran up and down his back, and she sighed with content.

"How did you escape from the dragon, anyway? My Escapipe didn't have anything to do with it, did it?" he asked.

Again, Maia remained silent, but stepped away from him, a dreamy look in her clear blue eyes. The peaceful smile remained upon her crimson lips as she gently kissed Rhys, and once she pulled away from him, he smiled.

"Oh, fuck it," he said. Taking Maia's hand into his, he continued, "Let's get married, Maia... no dragon this time."

And thus, after the strangest forty-seven minutes and twelve seconds of his life, Prince Rhys of Landen married Maia, the amnesiac beauty. The people of Landen loved their new princess very well, and with time, Rhys and Maia brought a son into the world.

Decades of peace passed, but soon...

Naaah, just messing with you. Turns out exploiting one Escapipe glitch goes hand-in-hand with exploiting the other Escapipe glitch. Mwahahahahaha.[/i]

AW 2315, Landen. Again.

The castle shook with the force of a massive explosion from outside. As he sat in the throne room, Rhys nodded to his son as he dashed into the throne room.

"My son, I have bad news," Rhys started. "The kingdom of Satera's been attacked by deadly creatures."

"This is terrible, Father. At least we're holding up well," the prince replied.

"Yes. I fear the tension between Orakians and Layans has finally come to its peak. Nial, my son... I fear it's up to you now. While I lead the soldiers in battle against the Layan monsters, you must go seek out the source of the attacks."

The prince sighed, his blue ponytail falling to his shoulder as he did so. "Father, you're doing that again," he said. "My name's Ayn, not Nial."

"Do not worry, Nial," Rhys continued, as if he hadn't heard his son. "Your mother and I will protect Landen in your absence."

".....Right." He's probably in one of those moods again, Ayn thought. "Shall I take Mieu and Wren with me?"

"...Who and who?"

Ayn sweatdropped. "Mieu and Wren. You know, my bodyguards?"

"You have bodyguards?"

"You gave them the job!" Ayn countered. He pointed at a curvaceous redhaired woman. "You remember Mieu—you met her over at Lake Palma? Really athletic?"

"Not to mention helped kick so much monster butt! ^_^" Mieu replied.

"I've never met anybody at Lake Palma."

"Well, then you at least know about Wren! You and Mieu met him over in Aridia..."

"I even said the whole time how much I hated sand because it kept getting in my hair," Mieu added. "But good ol' Wren didn't complain at all!"

"I was not built to experience discomfort or, indeed, any negative sensation, Prince Ayn," a heavily-armored man replied. "Aridia does have its fair share of sandstorms, but neither myself nor the machines of Hazatak complain."

"Hazatak? What's that?" Rhys asked. "Nial, do you and these two take me for a fool?"

"Well, I think your mustache is pretty foolish," Ayn told him. "Dad, you always told me that you trusted Mieu and Wren more than any of the soldiers in Landen."

"I don't even know these two!" Rhys turned to Maia, who was standing next to the throne, still wearing her wedding dress for some unfathomable reason. "Maia, I think something's wrong with our son."

"Ayn seems perfectly fine to me, Rhys," Maia replied.

"Maia! At long last, your melodious voice has returned!"

Looking at both Mieu and Wren, Ayn sweatdropped again. With a sigh, he said, "Dad, Mom used to read to me all the time when I was younger. She could always speak."

"Strange..."

"Umm, My Prince, maybe we should get going," Mieu said quietly. "This whole conversation's making my head spin, and I'm getting confused."

"As am I," Wren added. "We should start our search for information in Satera..."

"Hmm. Actually, I think I have a better idea," Ayn replied. He took a battered blue-green ocarina from his cape. "You know what this is, right?"

"Oh, it's an Escapipe!" Mieu replied. "I love the sound they make. V-grooonnNNNnnng!"

"I wonder what would happen if I played it now," Ayn mused.

"There is only one way to find out, Prince Ayn."

With a nod, Ayn brought the Escapipe to his lips, and gave it a gentle toot. Almost immediately, he, along with Mieu and Wren felt disoriented as weightlessness overtook them. Within seconds, they found themselves before another throne, its king glaring down at them.

"Heey, we're back in Cille Castle!" Mieu realized. "This is weird!"

"Also, Prince Ayn, your hair has turned brown," Wren commented. "Most unusual."

"Brown?" Ayn looked at his ponytail, then shrugged. "I guess I'll get used to it. Now, if we're in Cille Castle, that means we're in Layan lands, and that must mean we're... uh-oh."

"So! You are Rhys Landen?!" the king bellowed, angry at being ignored. "You are the one who dares to take my fair daughter's hand, to steal her virginity, to befoul her womb with your filthy Orakian seed!?"

"What?! I'm... Rhys is my father!" Ayn exclaimed. "I'm his son, Ayn Landen!"

"I shall personally show you how we deal with filthy Orakian spies in these lands, Rhys!" The king rose to his feet, then took a slow, measured step towards Ayn. Behind him, Ayn could see a young brown-haired woman nervously peek from behind the throne.

"Mo... Mother? Did you follow us here?" Ayn asked upon seeing her. "...Why is your hair brown too?"

"Rhys, Father, stop! Both of you!" the brown-haired Maia pleaded. "You don't have to fight each other!"

"My Prince? I think I know what's going on," Mieu said. "Queen Maia's father said these exact words over twenty years ago!"

"I surmise the Escapipe has brought us back in time," Wren added.

".....You've got to be kidding me," Ayn groaned. "Grandfather Orin's going to fight me because he thinks I'm Father? This is absur—"

Maia's father raised his hand, preparing an attack Technique. Mieu, remembering how the fight started years ago, wasted no time: she simply ran up to the king and delivered one swift kick to King Orin's crotch. The fight was over before it had even started. Clutching himself, his face contorted in agony, the king groaned, "I... unnnNNgh... I yield, Prince Rhys... ohhh, that hurt."

"Mieu, was that necessary?" Ayn asked, watching the injured king roll around on the throne room's floor. "I mean, that's my grandfather you just kicked in the groin."

"It's for the cause, My Prince." Mieu folded her arms and looked around the throne room. "This day just keeps getting weirder and weirder."

Indeed it did: Maia had dashed from behind the throne, embracing Ayn. "Oh, Rhys, my love," she cooed, casually ignoring the fact that her father was just kicked in a very sensitive spot. "You were magnificent!"

"I'm not Rhys!" Ayn protested, trying to squirm out of his mother's (was she his mother?!) embrace. "And I didn't do a damn thing! Mieu just nailed him in the Mommy/Daddy button!"

"Prince Ayn, I don't think Queen Maia particularly cares," Wren replied.

"And now, Prince Rhys, you must choose!" Maia's father looked at his daughter, then to Ayn, having recovered suspiciously quickly from a kick to the groin. "Of course you have come here to marry my daughter, but! I will willingly give you her hand if—and only if—you renounce your claim to Landen's throne! And lest you forget, there's that Sateran princess with whom you travel... the woman with whom you were betrothed at a young age!"

"What in the world are you talking about?" Ayn wondered, trying again to escape his mother's arms. "Thea's Shusoran, not Sateran! I don't even know where Satera is!"

"He really thinks you're your father, My Prince," Mieu mused, trying her best to not laugh. "Escapipes are something else, aren't they?"

"Perhaps Prince Ayn procured a defective Escapipe."

"I hope it's defective! Little help, guys!?"

By now, Maia had determined herself to reward her "heroic knight" with a kiss on the lips, apparently undeterred by the fact that Ayn had repeatedly said he was a) Not Rhys, and b) Maia's future son. Ayn, for his part, was holding his free hand perpendicularly across his face to block Maia, but she remained determined. With a few seconds at his expense, Mieu and Wren gently took the princess's arms and pulled her away from Ayn, to his considerable relief.

"Now, Rhys... you must choose."

Ayn hesitated, trying to make any kind of sense as to what the hell was happening to him. Finally, after some thought, he looked up at Maia's father. "Lord Orin, Grandfather, I... oh what the hell now."

Maia had been replaced by a statuesque, lightly-armored woman, her chestnut brown hair tied back into a ponytail. Beside her, Ayn recognized Thea's curled green hair as she glanced at him with her usual sweet smile.

"Ayn, you know how much I love you," Thea said. "On the other hand, Landen is the land of your father, and your father's father. If you truly wish to marry Sari, I'll understand."

"Thea, I love you. I don't even know Sari."

"What the hell are you talking about?!" the brunette, whom Ayn guessed was Sari, replied, her voice deep, yet still feminine. "The five of us spent months together! We kicked the crap out of each other! Look, Ayn, you did awesome. You kicked ass when it needed to be kicked. The Layans are your people, too. I don't want to say this, but I think you should marry Thea. They need you. She needs you."

Ayn's eye twitched involuntarily. He regarded Thea, then Sari, and then his grandfather, each of whom gave him an expectant gaze, before turning to Mieu and Wren. "Everyone, I need a minute. If you'll excuse me..."

"Of course, My Prince!" "Not too long, Ayn."

Ayn stepped out of the throne room as quickly as he could. There was an uncomfortable silence for a few seconds before everyone heard him bellowing, "WHAT THE FUCK!?!? ARArrRAAARRRrrRRGHh!! (thud) (thud) (THUD) (thud)" from one of Cille Castle's corridors. His cry echoed for several seconds, then he returned to the throne room, a fresh bruise spreading across his forehead.

"All right. I have chosen," he slurred, his pace unsteady as he staggered to his companions. "I have chosen..."

And thus, Ayn married Thea, blah blah, rule the Layans, blah blah, Sean Landen born, blah blah, decades of peace, blah blah blah, shattered, destruction of Azura blah blah blah please insert Disc Two.

AW 2340, somewhere in the Aridian Desert

"I'm just saying, My Prince. It might be worth a shot, that's all!"

Sean sighed, staring over Mieu's shoulder at the smoldering wreckage of their escape shuttle. "Mieu, you said it yourself—that Escapipe's also been more trouble than it's worth. Father almost married Grandmother because of that thing, for God's sake!"

"Perhaps we can use it to prevent your parents' deaths, Prince Sean," Wren replied. "There is, after all, only one way to find out."

Sean nodded. "All right. Mieu, do it."

"Right away, My Prince! ^_^"

Mieu brought the Escapipe to her lips, giving it a gentle toot. And just as it had before, she, Wren, and Sean experienced weightlessness and disorientation as they vanished from Aridia's surface, reappearing on Azura, to their surprise. Ayn and Thea were not in the satellite's throne room, but two of the three recognized the figure sitting on the throne.

"Oh, damn," Mieu groaned as she saw the figure stand up. "It's Siren. Again."

"Who's Siren?"

"I am afraid he's my counterpart, and not a particularly agreeable one," Wren explained. "He has an innate hatred of all Layans, given his service as Orakio sa Riik's general."

"...Splendid." Sean sweatdropped at the news as he regarded Siren.

"What's this?! Survivors amongst the Laya—oh, no!" The red-haired doppelganger of Wren felt his bravado disappear as soon as he saw the trio. "You two again?! And who the hell are you?!"

"Heya, Siren! Time for another ass-whooping! XD"

Mieu charged the android, her energy claws flaring to life. Sean and Wren watched as she easily disabled Siren with a few well-placed slashes and kicks. As he dropped to his knees, Siren boomed, "You think this is over, Prince Ayn!?"

"Sean. King Ayn is my father," Sean told the android.

"Oh... they made him a king... fitting. You know... I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Ecco. C-beams glittering through the Marble Zone. All these memories will be lost..." Siren coughed up oil at this point. "Lost forever... like tears in rain... time to crash."

Siren gave one last shudder before he was overcome by the damage Mieu had inflicted. The three stood around Azura's throne for several minutes, waiting for something—anything—to happen before Sean finally asked, "So... what now?"

"Huh. I think this is where you make your choice of who to marry," Mieu told him.

"But this is the third generation. There was no such provision for this," Wren realized.

"Meaning what, exactly?" Sean asked the two. "Should I say something stupid? Something like... I don't know, 'This evil city is too evil to leave standing' or something like that?"

Before Mieu or Wren could reply, the three heard a loud gump sound echoing through their minds, as well as Azura. A transparent box appeared before all three of them, text appearing one word at a time on its surface: Phantasy Star III has stopped working. MIEU-OS can check online to find a solution to the problem.

"...Well. Wasn't expecting that," Sean said.

"I do not understand why there are pictures of anime women in lingerie behind this text box," Wren told him.

"Oh, you see them, too?" Mieu asked. "Looks like the Creator is a bit of a perv... oh, wow, that catgirl's wearing like the most useless bra ever."

"So, what do we do now?" Sean asked.

"I guess we just check for a solution?" Mieu asked. "Touch that one."

Shrugging his shoulders, Sean reached for the Check Solution button. As he touched it, he swore he could hear his great-grandfather's voice saying, "I told you those Escapipes were bad news!"

Time itself started to unwind around the three: Mieu found herself being drawn to Lake Palma, back in the Kingdom of Landen, while Sean found himself de-aging, quickly taking on Ayn's appearance, then Rhys's, as he somehow made his way back to the Castle City of Landen.

And as for Wren...

AW 2284- Zelan Satellite, in orbit around Motavia

"Wow, you're Wren?! Holy crap, you're tall..."

The black-haired android smiled at Chaz Ashleigh, giving him a nod. "In verity, I am indeed Wren."

"I gotta say, Chaz, I'm impressed," a curvaceous brunette told him, giving him a playful nudge. "When you said Piata Academy's walls could transport you through time, I thought you got into the lab's special stuff."

"Alys, I told you, I wasn't hallucinating that Le Roof guy," Chaz protested. "Hey, wait a minute. If you're Wren, then..." He pointed to a similar black-haired android behind Wren. "Who's that over there?"

"It is not Rika, nor is it Demi," Wren mused. "...Oh, dear. This is interesting."

"This is interesting, indeed," the alternate Wren repeated. "I seem to have found my way into the future."

"Or is it the past?" Alys asked. "Let me guess... you're here because of a programming goof, too."

The End of a rather silly story.