The Hellewell's flat, San Myshuno, 2013
"Mum... dad?" Paris crept into the living room.
"Paris, when I call you, you come. Okay?" said his mother.
Paris stared at his feet.
"Now, your dad and I have some business to attend to. We need you to look after Lauren tonight."
"But... I... have a date... tonight," said Paris. "You said I could go see Frozen with Felicity."
"Sorry Paris," his father replied. "But we really need you to do this. For Lauren."
"Ugh." Why is Lauren always my responsibility?
The Grandmaster's Mansion, Forgotten Hollow, 2031
Paris was unamused. I'm surrounded by fools, she thought.
Toni and Edith had arrived unannounced and then been bickering all morning over which one of their 'little darlings' kidnapped the other. Last week, Cas and Victor went missing at the same time, which had given rise to speculation about whether they were missing together and if one of them had kidnapped the other.
"Oh, come on Toni," said Edith, "everybody knows your daughter is a manipulative little..."
"Oh don't even go there!" said Toni. "Victor is a 'Sports Jock' and 'Sports Jocks' only think with their..."
"Don't you dare! Victor gets 'A's in Humanities!"
Toni's face went 'deadpan.' "What? He does?" she said.
"Victor is wiser than you think," smiled Edith through clenched teeth.
"And Cas is a nice person!"
"Pff... Yeah right!"
"What did you say?"
"OKAY STOP!" said Paris. "Your arguing will not bring your kids back!"
The two froze. They had completely forgotten about Paris.
"It's obvious what's going on," she said with a straight face, "they were both kidnapped."
"Think about it both of you," said Paris. "Why on Planet Sim would an insightful genius like Cas choose to kidnap a clueless Sweglord like Victor? And how could someone as docile as Victor think to kidnap Cas? It just sounds so out of character to me."
The two were silent.
"Now," said Paris, "what could make sense is if someone kidnapped your two kids as a means of bargaining with you two."
The parents' eyes went wide.
"Makes sense," said Paris. "You, Toni, are the true leader of His Evil Services and you, Edith, are the head of the Sweglords."
"But why?" cried Edith. "Why would anyone threaten us this way? And what sort of person threatens two enemies at the same time? Can't they choose a side?"
"Maybe," said Paris, "they're playing a different game; one that's much bigger than the two of your's feud..." Paris's thoughts trailed off....wait a minute.... "Did they run away together by choice?" She replayed the conversation Toni and she had that Christmas, four years ago. So much had happened since then she had forgotten.
"What?" said Edith.
Toni looked sideways.
A loud tap could be heard from the front door. "I'll be back," said Paris. She stood up and headed to the front door.
Of course, thought Paris, as her eyes fell on the familiar figure before her. I don't remember advertising an 'enemy get-together' anywhere.
"May I come in?" said the king.
"If you must.'