Lynn sat down and spoke of the time when she first visited Okinawa. She talked about touring the Castle, meeting Kinjo-san and attempting to catch a black butterfly with her, cleaning Kinjo-san’s antiques, and listening to her fascinating family stories. When she spoke, her eyes lit up. She captivated everyone easily, even without the theatrics or illusions one can conjure up in the metaverse. She continued to share with Benny and Amy her trip to the medicine hall with Kinjo-san and the day Kinjo-san developed a fever. It was a day of sadness and anguish as the pair witnessed the burning of the Castle on television. It was a story Lynn had never shared before, which surprised Amy. Lynn recounted every detail of the burning Castle. She drew her audience in, including those observing them on screens. To the point that not a single one of them noticed the kitchen stove catching fire. The fire spread to the wooden cabinets and walls and then onto the main door. It was then that those observing on screens of the metaverse took notice of the fire. Two of them took down notes while the rest watched intently.
The fire continued to spread until it surrounded the trio, seated amongst the orange furniture. Lynn made no attempt to acknowledge the fire and continued her storytelling. Finally, the fire moved in and trapped Lynn. Amy screamed and composed herself. She directed massive gallons of running water from the taps and showerhead to the fire, and within seconds, she put out the fire.
Amy spoke with her adult voice, “What were you thinking!”
Lynn yelled back, “I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT!”
“You could have gotten hurt!”
“My brain would only be tricked to feel pain on my skin and flesh. But this! What is all this?”
Lynn looked at the house with broken furniture, burnt wood, soot, and smoke. She looked at Benny and then at Amy. Amy transformed back to her adult self and waved for Benny to go. In a split second, Benny disappeared into nothingness.
“Why are we in here?”
Amy thought for some time. This was her last chance with Lynn, and she had to make it work. She had to.
“Ma, I’m… sorry.”
A long silence fell between them.
“I don’t know what else to do. This is the only way-”
“What are you talking about?”
“Ma, I know I was angry with you, angry with everything, and I left.”
Lynn slowly sat back down. She did not feel so strong anymore. She spoke slowly, “I know you were angry. Angry and hurt. I regret it very much too.”
Amy sat next to Lynn and buried her face in her hands. She composed herself and said, “Ma. I need you to trust me. We don’t have time to talk about it now. I want to make this right for others.”
Lynn looked weary and asked feebly, “What do you want?”
“I need you to tell me everything you know about the flaming pearl.”
” The pearl seeks you; you do not seek the pearl.”
“Tell me from the beginning. Every detail. I want to know.”
“You will not find the pearl.”
“I need to at least try.”
Lynn nodded her head understandingly. She walked to the main door and beckoned for Amy to follow. As she opened the door, they walked into Lynn’s youth, at a time when she first met Kinjo-san in Okinawa.