A Tale of Two Kingdoms, part 6/11 (2015-08-20)

There is really only one thing that Carlos–Carlos the boy, not Carlos the head of the jaeger program–wants.

He wants his friends.

It’s not something that’s easy to admit. The Isle has been critical of such soft, positive emotions–you have minions or a gang or, if you’re particularly lucky, partners in crime–but friends are for the weak. Friendship just means admitting a person is your weak spot.

But that was before. There’s a new world order on the Isle; in the face of kaiju, posturing as a tough, heartless loner is not only useless, but detrimental. Survival means cooperation now. The strongest of them, the jaeger pilots, are only such because they are drift compatible. To protect one’s family, for the love of lost friends, to contribute to the community–that’s what the Isle now holds above all else.

But it’s a lifetime of conditioning to work against, so it’s still difficult to admit. And, truth be told, Carlos is scared.

It’s a selfish request, to risk their source of, well, everything, just to try and figure out what happened to three people who may or may not be…

Carlos doesn’t know what happened to them; the mystery is as much a source of hope as it is despair. If he doesn’t know, then their deaths can’t be confirmed, they could still be alive. But surely, if they were still alive, they would have come back by now?

And what use would it be to know now, after over a year? What if its dangerous, what if it’s pointless, what if…

But Auradon asks, and that’s the only thing Carlos wants.

“You don’t have to,” Carlos says, fingers tugging nervously with the ends of his gloves. He’s said the same thing dozens of times already, voice conflicted, eyes filled with both hope and fear, “You don’t have to, really.”

“Auradon,” Ben says, just to get Carlos to look at him. At Ben. Not a resource, not a king, just Ben.


“That’s what you call me. And, you know, there’s a bit of a tradition in my kingdom,” Curiosity makes Carlos quiet, waiting for more. It’s better than him being worried, so Ben continues, “A boy goes on a quest to prove that he’s worthy.”

“Worthy of what?” Carlos asks, confused.

“I don’t know yet,” Ben says with a laugh. Carlos wrinkles his nose, to which Ben shrugs helplessly, “I’ll bring them back to you,” he says seriously, grasping both of Carlos’ hands to stop his fidgeting. And because he wants to, “One way or another, I’ll find them and I’ll bring them back to you,” Ben vows.

This vow is more crucial than bringing back cars and boats and planes and engineers and pilots. Because this isn’t a promise between a king and the head of the jaeger program. This is a promise from one boy to another, from a boy in love to the one he loves.

“And when I succeed,” Ben says, squeezing Carlos hands between his own, “I’d like it if you used my real name.” And he brings them up to his lips, brushing a kiss against bare knuckles.

Carlos tugs his hands away, a flush high on his cheeks, and Ben thinks he’s screwed up. But Carlos says, “You’ll have to come back and tell me what it is, then,” before he stomps away, no doubt back to the jaeger docks.

Ben smiles goofily after him, until Chip cuts in with a not so subtle cough. “Very smooth,” he says, completely straight faced.

Ben squints at him suspiciously, unsure if Chip is being sarcastic or not.

“It’s better than your dad at least,” Chip says reassuringly which, considering the story behind his parents’ get together, is not really all that of a consolation.

“Are you sure you want to come with me?” Ben asks, echoing a conversation they had months before.

And like before, Chip says, “I’m not letting you go alone.”

There is something strange about magic on this side of the tear. Or maybe, on this side of the ritual, on this side of Uri’s death.

The barrier being taken down was just a side affect, the tear between worlds an unintended consequence. The ritual was meant only to use son of a witch as fuel to revive the power of four magicians. Except there weren’t just four magicians–there were seven; even if three of them were young and unknowing.

Rituals are delicate things, everything must be done precisely or else it’ll end up a mess. The magical backlash, along with tearing down the barrier and tearing open a path between worlds, caused enough chaos for the three of them–back up sacrifices and accidental vessels–to escape.

But they didn’t know then which way they were escaping. Instead of going back, to warn the rest of the Isle, they went forward; into the world of the kaiju.

In this world, magic comes easily to them, thankfully. Otherwise how would they have survived without Mal’s constant shield. Without Evie’s precognitive warnings. And how would they have figured out the truth behind the kaiju without Jay’s mind magics pulling the truth out of one.

If only magic could bring them back.

But they’ve learned in the past couple of days–weeks–months–that magic doesn’t always need to be the solution. Not with Carlos.

“He’s sending us a prince,” Evie says, voice elated in a way Mal and Jay haven’t heard since they’ve been trapped on the wrong side of the tear.

“How will that help us?” Jay asks, disbelief blatant in his voice, even as he stares eagerly at Evie’s mirror.

“If he can find the ritual site, he can act as an anchor for us on that side,” Evie explains, excited grip causing the mirror’s frame to dig into her palm.

“We’d be able to find an opening that isn’t where the kaiju are being sent through,” Jay says in understanding.

“However we came through in the first place,” Mal agrees, “If there were some way we could lead him there…” she trails off, unsure. The ritual site had been Ursula’s choice, a cove that she had kept secret from the rest of the island.

“The eels,” Evie suggests, at the same time Jay says, “Lagan and Derelict.”

Mal looks at both of them skeptically before shrugging, “I suppose if anything can get him to Ursula’s secret lair, it’d be Uri’s pets.” And how poetic it would be, if creatures that Uri cared for were to help expose his murder.


A/N: Okay, so according to Jay’s wiki page, he’s the one with pet eels which I find kind of odd since it’s clearly a reference to Ursula’s Flotsam and Jetsam… unless that means Jay’s mother is Ursula?!?! Uh… well, let’s just say not since I have Uri in this story. Maybe in this universe Jay and Uri have a timeshare on the eels or something, I dunno.

Uh, yeah, strange ending. Sorry about that. :/

EDIT: (Because I don’t know how to reply to replies). jalencolbert, I just pulled the names for the eels off Jay’s wiki page so I don’t own them. As far as I know, Uri isn’t a canon name for Ursula’s kid (if she even has one) so that is sort of mine, but feel free to use that as well.

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