With the ceremony complete, Aaliyah joyously took Alma and I to do an incredible amount of signing. When that was finally finished, we went out for pictures. The photo session took longer than I hoped, but I was sure that was all part of Aaliyah’s plan. She was on stage again, entertaining the guests while Mila took pictures with the cameras in her eyes. Alma insisted on looking at them from time to time on my phone, and I couldn’t deny her when I was curious as well.
When Alma suddenly gathered her dress and ran, I followed her without question. She seemed worried. I sprinted ahead when I spotted Adelmar doubled over near the house with Anwen looking afraid. His breathing was incredibly fast, and he seemed to be in pain. He stood, taking a swing at me the moment I stopped.
Catching his hand, I said, “Adelmar. It’s me, James. What’s wrong?”
“When did you get this strong?” he snarled, staring at his fist in my hand.
Alma arrived, stopping just behind me. “Is it time already?” she asked.
I thought he was going to attack me again, but I felt a number of his defensive spells being dropped. The anger quickly left his eyes.
“Cousin, I wasn’t aware that your husband was holding back so much during his challenges.” stated Adelmar as he casually straightened his suit.
“I did inform you that he was much faster and stronger than I originally believed.” she replied.
“YOU SHOULD HAVE SHOWN ME!” he yelled, taking a step toward her.
I put my arm out, blocking his path, and to my surprise, he hugged me.
“I’m sorry, James. I’ll be fine soon.” he told me as he stepped back.
“What’s wrong?” I asked again.
“His time’s coming soon.” replied Alma as she leaned against my arm.
“Time?” I asked.
“There’s something I haven’t told you yet.” she stated, holding my arm and looking up at me.
“I imagine there are many things you haven’t told me yet.” I teased.
“Just tell him.” ordered Adelmar.
“My family is descended from dragons, and each member of the Slayer family is destined to become a dragon. My mother didn’t die. She became a dragon and went… elsewhere.” explained Alma.
“Elsewhere?” I inquired, knowing I couldn’t reveal that I had seen her mother not too long ago.
“She doesn’t know. None of us do.” asserted Adelmar. “Welcome to the family.” he added with a smile.
“Yes. Welcome, James. We’re thrilled to have you.” agreed Anwen as she hugged Adelmar’s arm.
“Would you two care to come back for more photos?” I asked. “We were just about to send for you, so your timing is rather great.”
Smiling wryly Adelmar said, “Timing on almost turning into a dragon and disrupting your party? I think my timing needs improved. Then again, I don’t know that I could have stopped were you not here. Despite the other effects of your magic, there is a very calming effect to it.”
“I’m glad I decided to attend my wedding today then. Alma certainly would have been fired up if I had skipped out, and you apparently would have been as well.” I teased.
Alma lightly hit my arm and then said, “Sorry, Adelmar. He can’t take anything seriously at times.”
“All part of his charm, I’m sure. I still cannot believe your strength and speed.” he stated, reaching up to roughly squeeze my shoulder as we started to walk. “If you had struck Hyun-woo full force, the man would have died on the spot.”
The chipper way Adelmar talked about how I could have killed a man bothered me, but I wasn’t going to argue with him today, especially not if his change really was coming soon. The little I had seen of dragons was enough to show me that they were as dangerous as they were beautiful, and Adelina’s temper seemed quite volatile as one.
The rest of the pictures were taken without interruption, posing with various friends and family. Adelmar and Anwen seemed quite disturbed when Ariadne, Vito, Papak, and Zachary joined us for a couple shots, but they didn’t protest.
When pictures were finished, Alma and I went out to perform a little dance number we had rehearsed. Then we took to the stage and welcomed everyone to the reception, encouraging them to join us in dancing until food would be served.
The seven course meal that Marco prepared along with Carl and his staff would surely be remembered fondly by everyone, leaving them envious of my chef. He was quite superb. After the dinner was finished, a large number of speeches were given. Adelmar was certainly long-winded as ever when he took a turn. Given that the sun hadn’t set while he was still talking, I wondered if Carl was playing with time again.
When the speeches were over, there was a great deal of dancing and eventually an enormous cake. Alma and I did our best to visit the hundreds of tables to greet everyone, but missing someone would have been easy in the crowd.
After a final speech encouraging the guests to enjoy themselves in our absence and thanking them once again for attending, Alma and I departed to the limo. Having her hugging my arm and smiling so beautifully, my happiness was on a new level.
“Mila, you missed the turn. Where are you taking us?” inquired Alma a few blocks later.
“I have a surprise for you, so please forgive this little stop before we fly out.” I told her.
“Oh. Does the pilot know?” she asked.
“Yes, he was given the correct schedule rather than what you were given.” replied Mila.
“Lovely. Our marriage has already started with more secrets.” teased Alma.
“Actually, this is to be a bit of explanation.” I assured her.
“Oh?” she inquired. Her face suddenly took on a look of shock. “We just teleported.”
“You didn’t really want us to deal with traffic, did you?” I teased as I opened the door.
“I’m not allowed in there.” stated Alma as she gazed out at the Intergalactic House of Awesome Sauce.
“As one of the primary shareholders, I give you permission. The others have already confirmed.” I assured her, offering her a hand as she stepped out.
Alma sighed and said, “Of all the places to go first, you had to pick one of the most plain-looking buildings around.”
When we passed through the second set of doors, her expression became one of shock. The room was enormous, easily ten times the size of the building. Furthermore, there were numerous species dining here.
“What sort of illusion is this?” she asked.
“No illusion. The Intergalactic House of Awesome Sauce is present on thousands of worlds, offering the best fine dining services in all of time and space.” insisted Evanna.
“You weren’t there a moment ago.” stated Alma as she looked to our host.
Smiling, Evanna said, “No, I wasn’t. Please follow me, and I’ll show you to your room.”
Taking Alma’s hand, I followed Evanna three feet to our right where we were instantly transported to a lavish room with only one table.
Motioning into the room, Evanna then told us “Please wait here for your next host to attend to you.”
“You won’t be taking us around?” I asked.
“No. Sorry, James. As much as I would like to give you another tour, Carl has me assigned elsewhere today.” she replied, waving before she disappeared.
“How is this possible?” asked Alma.
“Stabilized passages through space-time with radiation buffers, annoying people buffers, and other fun buffers.” explained Aaliyah as she stepped out of nowhere. “Buffers… Don’t you love buffers? Along with some other useful tech I designed, they allow the Intergalactic House of Awesome Sauce to simultaneously exist throughout all of space and have room for all. Pretty slick, isn’t it?”
Shaking her head, Alma said, “You’re just messing with me, aren’t you.”
“She really isn’t. Where would you like to go?” I asked with a smile.
“When and where, really. The ‘when’ is just as important. I’m calling first choice though. See ya!” exclaimed Aaliyah.
Alma and I found ourselves staring up at a very familiar dragon who was munching on a large creature I didn’t recognize.
“Mother…?” asked Alma.
“Alma!” exclaimed Adelina, jumping over to us. “You’re married?”
Alma hugged her mother’s face as she said, “Yes. Just today. Father was there. He misses you.”
“No telepathy today?’ I inquired.
Adelina snarled but didn’t attempt to attack me this time.
“Today? You two have met?” asked Alma.
Shrugging, I said, “Of course. How do you think I decided on a ring design? I forged your engagement ring in a volcano on this planet.”
“We’ve been fools, Alma. After I attacked James, the dragon queen told me a great many things that I would like to share with you. Why can I not see your thoughts?” asked Adelina.
“I was given something that protects my mind from intrusion. Adelmar approved of its use on Ai and Mai as well.” explained Alma. “There are many things I would like to share as well.”
“I’ll hang out over that way and give you two a bit of time to catch up. We’ll probably be on this planet for a while.” I told them. When Alma nodded, I jogged off to do some exploring, since I didn’t have the chance last time I was here. This would certainly be an interesting honeymoon.