With one last cry of anguish Helvax exploded in a fireball that quickly dissappaited. The armor flew off of him as it returned to the portal above him. Around them the Cards slowly started fading away revealing the loft they were covering up. Before too long things were back to normal. Then Jules pointed behind him, “Carter.” He whipped around and saw a human looking Lucille stumble out what was left of the explosion. Singed and wounded she reached out toward him with a pained and sad look on her face.”Be...”, she said as she slowly came forward. Carter was at the ready for any sort of attack. But all she did was come toward him slowly, almost willing herself to reach him. “Be...,” she repeated. “Be happy...” Slightly confused bt her choice of words Carter caught her as she fell forward. In his arms she looked up at him, fresh tears streaming down her face. Smiling weakly she told him, “Be happy together,” before she slumped in his arms, body disappearing into a bunch of tarot cards that blew away like dust. “That wasn't the Horror,” Xypher announced once she was gone. “That what was left of the real Lucille.” “Be happy together,” Carter repeated before looking over at Jules. She took his arm and silently led them out of there. *** Hours later after they rested after the ordeal Marcus stood holding the sword out. Jules waved her brush over it, bristles glowing as she made several slow passes over it. Finally she said, “I can't detect anything. Damn if I know how it was done.” Next to them Judith stood there with a I told you so look on her face. “Are you absolutely sure something was done to the sword? Because I'm convinced those two are making it up.” “I thought the same thing,” Judith informed her. “At first.” ”But the weight is off,” Marcus insisted. “At least compared to every other sword I've every wielded.” “It's going to go down,” Judith added, “as one of life's great mysteries. That secret was lost when Paul's grandfather died along with the Priest who did it.” “I better get back to practicing with it,” Marcus said as he sheathed the blade. “If you'll excuse me.” With a slight bow he left for the practice yard. Judith smiled and went to her not quite so secret porch. Jules joined her and together they watched father and son in a sparing match. “Well this was one way to introduce ourselves to each other wasn't it?”, Judith said as they watched for a bit. “It wasn't exactly how I imaged our first meeting going,” Jules agreed. “I'm just happy Carter and his father are on better terms now.” “You will get no argument from me there,” Judith told her. *** Carter blocked and parried everything his father threw ar him with the wooden training sword they were using. Backing up when necesary and charging forward with his own attack only when he saw the appropriate opening. And he knew his father's tells well enough to know when an apparent opening was a trap. Then he did sometc the wooden sword up Carter grabbed his wrist with his free arm before Paul could bring it to his neck, and claim victory. Struggling a bit Carter was able to flip out of the hold and in the same motion flipped his father over to his back. It stunned him long enough for Carter to bring the edge of his sword to his father's neck. Seeing the situation at hand and not seeing an immediate way out he dropped his training sword and said, “I yield.” Keeping the blade there he reached out a hand to help him to his feet. “Good,” he muttered, “you remembered the lesson about not assuming the battle is over until it is. So did you learn that little flipping move from Lowell?” “Not exactly,” Carter told him. “I came up with it myself using what both of you taught me.” “Combining the skill sets into something your own,”Paul said. “I figured as much when I saw you fight the Horrors those two times. Good for you son,” he slapped him on the arm. “You're as good as me now.” “Almost,” Carter told him. He looked over to the practice yard and his father did as well. Together they watched Marcus try to swing the sword around like he witnessed Carter doing. “Looks like he almost has the hang of it now.” Grunting in agreement Paul added, “He didn't even need my grandfather's journals to do it either.” Carter looked at him smirk out of the corner of his eye. Guiding him away from the sight to give Marcus a little privacy he said, “So your wedding is in a couple of days now. If I know your mother she already has me dressed in her head, so that should be enjoyable. Are you sure there's going to be room for us? We did confirm that we're attending pretty much at the last minute.” They heard Jules call out, “We'll make room.” They looked to see her come up to them. “Didn't you tell her we were going to have a private chat?”, Paul asked him. Carter answered with a slight nod. “Listens to you doesn't she?” Carter looked over to his side and smirked, “About as well as mom listens to you.” He motioned with his head when his father looked confused. Coming in from another direction his mother was joining the apparent party. Before he could protest she worked his way under his arm as Jules stood next to Carter. “I was going to make sure there room for the two of you one way or another.” “He did,” Jules confirmed. “Not that I was going to argue the point.” “Hopefully my future daughter-in-law can be as forgiving of the harsh greeting I originally gave her,” Paul told her. “Already forgotten,” she told him. “The way I figure it I met you at a bad time.” Putting a arm around Carter she added, “Besides you helped raised this guy right here and he turned out all right. So you can't be all that bad.” Paul chuckled at that, “I'll give credit where credit is due where Carter is concerned.” He gave his wife a quick squeeze. “But I'll take the bad time excuse, it's close enough to the truth.” He looked at Judith expectantly. She looked back and said, “You're not expecting me to disagree are you?” Paul just grunted. “I hate to leave so soon,” Carter spoke up, “but like Dad said, the wedding is in a couple of days and we still have some things to take care of before then.” “Unfortunately he's right,” Jules added. “The maor things are done but there are some smaller details to take care of.”j “Don't worry dear,” Judith told her. “I remember those particular days well.” Letting go of her husband she gave Jules another big hug. “We'll see you at the wedding. You come here,” she told Carter who obliged and she hugged him as well. “My boy's getting married, I can hardly believe it.” “It's still a little surreal to me too mom,” he said as he hugged her back. Letting go he turned to his father and extended his hand, “Dad.” Paul took the hand then quickly pulled him into a hug of his own. Then he gave one to Jules, who looked like she was getting squeezed again until she let go. “We'll see you in a couple of days,” he said repeating what his mom did. “We better get going,” he told Jules.” They headed down the path as Paul pulled Judith closer and gave her a quick squeeze as they watched them go. “A ton of details,” Jules said after a bit. “I'm sure we forgot something since we were dealing with Lucille and Sean. And there better not be another mission waiting for you when we get back.” Carter nodded his agreement as they walked down the path. “Where do you think we should start?” “Personally?”, he asked. “I think we should have a long talk about you heading into a dangerous situation without me backing you up.” “I was scouting the area out first,” she told him, getting a little annoyed. “And I had Marcus with me.” “Ah Jules,” Xypher said. “You might want to be glad he didn't let you keep the riding crop for this talk.” She looked at the pin, “Carter would never do me like that, would you Carter?” “Of course I wouldn't treat you like that.” He put an arm around her and pulled her closer. As she rested her head on his shoulder he added, “Much.” She looked up at him, “You heard that, huh?” After a few beats he looked at her and grinned. She returned it as they continued down the path.