Chapter XV: A Grand Apology

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“Sebastian, you know I detest surprises,” Ruby grumbled as I carefully positioned her to have the best view when she opened her eyes. “I did not appreciate being denied knowledge of our destination when we boarded the aircraft or when we landed, either. This is all highly irregular and alarming.”

“I know, I know, but you’ll forgive me in a second.” At least I hoped she would. This whole thing was supposed to be my apology to her for the way I treated her during our last fight. “Okay. Open your eyes,” I smiled.

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Chapter XIII: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

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“Hello?!” I called out into the endless stretch of wilderness around me. “Is anybody there? I think I’m lost! Hello?!”

Let me back track a little and explain to you exactly how I ended up getting lost by myself in the woods in the middle of the night. I started working at a new hospital in Willow Creek where my sisters live and as part of a new employee orientation, somebody in management thought it was a good idea to send a group of us out to Granite Falls on a wilderness retreat to get to know each other and learn how to work together. In theory, it was a great idea. In practice, it didn’t turn out so well.

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Merry Christmas from the Sword-Prince Family

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This is Sebastian Sword, here wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Happy Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Winter Solstice to all those celebrating these festive holidays, too. It’s been a great year for our family, with Calista’s successful operation, our move to Oasis Springs and the birth of my second son, Nereus. We hope your year has been as great as ours and that the coming year is even better.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays with love,
The Sword-Prince Family

Chapter XII: Welcome to Oasis Springs

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“Calista? Calista, can you hear us?” I asked, looking down at Ruby’s latest advancement lying still on the operating table in our laboratory. I turned to my wife. “She isn’t responsive, are you sure the operation was successful?” Even though I knew Calista was a machine with artificial intelligence, I still hated to think of losing her. She felt more human to me than plumbot and our whole family had become attached to her.

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Chapter XI: Raising Hope

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A year ago, if anyone had told me that risking my job and my freedom as a law-abiding citizen to break into a hospital and kidnap a child patient would be one of the best decisions of my life, I would have referred them to a psychiatrist, but saving Hope really was like saving all of us, in so many ways. She was painfully shy and frightened of just about everything but she had a way of brightening the lives of everyone around her, even if she had to live her own life in the shadows. Her presence made us all want to protect her and that made us all work better together as a family in order to do that. Leander and I still had our problems, but at least when Hope was around, we forgot about them in order to care for her.

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