“All right, all right, Harriet!” exclaimed Storm, flashing a wide, fake smile. “Come on down to the kitchen! We’ve made some fresh garlic-and-herb bread!”
Vali followed the three of them down a hallway, and then to an elevator that arrived at the floor below in three seconds.
Sure enough, at a long, wooden kitchen table, there was a plate of cheesy, green-flecked bread that made Vali’s stomach growl.
They all sat at the table, in the center, with Vali and Max at one end and Storm and J at the other.
“So how long will you be staying with us?” J asked, flipping her hair and digging into a piece of bread.
“I . . . don’t know,” Vali hesitated. “But I would like to know why you are hiding. You seem as if you are on the run.”
“So do you,” Max laughed, and he giggled until Storm gave him a warning look.
“Well, I’ll explain it to you,” Storm said. “Well, Max and J were caught doing something illegal to Lazen law, and I was caught doing something illegal by Lorian law. And then we found each other, and then we hid in this house, and we were never found. That is the shortened version.”
“Uh, what’s Lazen?” Vali asked, though she suspected it was the name of the Other Place.
“Oh, child. So full of questions,” Storm muttered.
“Here. It’s the name of this country,” Max explained.
“And what did you do that was against the law?” asked Vali.
“It is your choice to tell her,” Storm said.
“Well, we, uh—” Max started.
“Shush!” J exclaimed through clenched teeth. “We are not telling her!”
“Yes we are,” Max said, nostrils flared.
“Oh my,” Storm sighed.
“We made robots!” Max quickly yelled. “Illegal robots.”
“How were they illegal?”
“No more,” J scowled.
“They were equipped,” Max paused mysteriously, “with guns. Lazer guns!”
“That’s it!” J exclaimed. “You’re in for it!”
J got up from the table, and darted after Max, who was just getting in the elevator. The elevator shot up, and on the floor above them Vali heard shouting and yelling.
“I always try to control them, but it fails,” Storm said, putting her head in her hands.