The world reshaped itself around me. The Ramstovian palace was partially rebuilt, but there was still destruction everywhere. Zlodeyskiy, Lu, and the Sharkwoman were still around, but Mayhew had vanished.
“Where did he go?” Tilly asked as soon as she noticed his absence.
I shrugged. I hadn’t meant to send him away. “I guess he wasn’t here at the time.”
Tilly gave me a curious look. “At what time?”
“Before Zlodeyskiy used the horn, before he even picked it up. I undid everything that happened after that.”
Tilly held her hand up and waggled her fingers. “But I’ve still got my arm.”
“That wasn’t me. I forgot all about that.”
“Losing body parts can be hard to forget. Maybe it has to do with your mother’s upgrades.”
“Maybe.” She shrugged as if it didn’t matter. “Now, that all of that is taken care of. All that’s left it to get rid of that horn and get out of here.”
“And leave ZLodeyskiy here?”
“He’s the recognized ruler of the country, Frank. What else can we do? It’s not like we can arrest him for being attacked by an interdimensional demon. We came here to get information on him. We have it. Now, we just have to go report it back to Agent Samuel.”
“But we can do more.”
“What do you mean?” Tilly asked skeptically.
“I’ve returned reality to the way it was before Zlodeyskiy started screwing with everything, but the General is still in charge of this country. He’s still oppressing his people. He’s still threatening other countries.”
“You can’t fix everything, Frank.”
“Why? Why can’t I?”
“Because that’s not the way things work. That’s not the way people work.” I could see the concern on her face.
“I’m not losing it, Tilly. I’m not going to become a maniac. I know not everything can be fixed, but there are things that can be. This country doesn’t have to be ruled be a vicious dictator. Our government doesn’t want him to be. The world doesn’t want him to be. That’s why we’re here.”
“We weren’t sent here to stop him, Frank. We weren’t sent here to overthrow him. We absolutely were not sent here to kill him. We were sent here to find out his plans. That’s all. We were just sent here to figure out what he was planning and report that back.”
“And we did that. We fond out his plans. And they were horrible. He was doing secret genetic research on people and he’ll continue to do that if we leave him here like this. He wants to conquer the world, Tilly. He needs to be stopped. It would be irresponsible of me not to.”
“There are other ways to stop him.”
“But this way no one has to get hurt. There won’t need to be a war. No soldiers will be need to be sent in. No bombs. All I need to do is think about it and…”
“Frank, you have to be careful with this amount of power. It can quickly get out of control.”
“I know,” I told her. “But it would be irresponsible not to do anything while I have the ability. To just let Zlodeyskiy run free when I can stop him, when I can put an end to it? I can’t just let it be. I can’t just leave these people to suffer under him.”
“Of course you can.”
“No. I cannot.”
And just like that, with a single thought, the world was changed. The palace was gone. Zlodeyskiy disappeared. We were suddenly in the middle of a residential area. Tilly looked horrified. “What did you do?” she demanded.
“I made Zlodeyskiy a pet store owner. Now he can play with all the lizards he wants.” I smiled at my own little joke. “Ramstov is now a parliamentary democracy.”
Tilly didn’t look happy, but instead of arguing with me she said, “Fine. Are you done now? Can we wrap this all up and get rid of that horn?”
“Done?” I paused to consider that for a second. Was I finished? Should I give away the horn? I could see Tilly’s argument. Were the shoe on the other foot, I might have been saying the same thing, but I quickly realized there was really only one answer I could give, “No.”
“I still have more work to do.”
“Your father is currently in the body of a dinosaur, Tilly. Are you telling me that that shouldn’t be fixed? How is that something that is right and natural? How is this world better without him in his own body? Please, tell me that.”
“It’s not your fault that he got hurt, Frank. You can’t blame yourself.”
“Maybe. Maybe it wasn’t my fault. Maybe it was his. Maybe it was your mother’s for stranding us back there. Maybe it was the dinosaur. Maybe it was nobody’s fault and things just happen. But I can blame myself if I leave him like that. I have the power to fix him. It’ll be my fault if I let that opportunity slip past.”
“And what else will you undo by changing that?” she asked. “Every action has repercussions. You don’t know what dominos could fall. Trust me, Frank. My mother is a time queen. She made sure I understood the cost of playing with the timeline.”
“But I’m not playing with the timeline. I’m altering reality. I’m making it obey my commands. I am fully in control.”
“Frank, there is no difference.”
“There is/ If there wasn’t, the time police would have been here to stop me. The would have been here to stop Zlodeyskiy.”
“You’re just making excuses, passing off blame. This is your problem, Frank, and you need to stop.”
“No. I’m fixing my mistakes.”
“It’s too late. It’s done.”
I nodded. “It’s done. Your father never lost his body.” Tilly opened her mouth, but sounds wouldn’t come out. “Let me show you,” I said and we were gone.
to be continued…