Wanda, Tim, and Arnold all emerged from the door with Ralphie suddenly at their side, both groups just as surprised as the other. The door closed behind them.”Woah, hey! I thought you guys stayed behind! Did you come with Ms. Frizzle?”
“Hi Ralphie!” Wanda screamed as she and Tim threw their arms around his neck. Arnold winced a smile and a wave from behind them. “I’ve never been so happy to see anyone in my life!”
“Thanks, I think. What happened to Arnold?”
“A monster! It attacked Tim, then it invited us over to its house for soda and video games, then it threw Arnold and tried pull my hair out!”
“So Liz ran it over with the bus and saved us! And then we s– wait, where’s Liz?”
“I think she stayed with the bus,” said Arnold.
“I’m a little lost. Maybe you should start over,” Ralphie said, scratching his head. Wanda and Tim told Ralphie everything that had happened since they last saw him, from the door disappearing to the husk of Phoebe.
“…and by the door was Phoebe again, alive! But her face was… just… a huge yellow–”
“Eyeball,” Ralphie finished, astonished. “I saw it too! And it’s not really Phoebe, it called itself Wasp and it wants this from me.” He held out the gem. “I told it I’d give it when I found everyone again.”
“What is that?” Wanda said as she, Arnold, and Tim gawked.
“I don’t know but Ms. Frizzle told me I’d know when to use it. I think maybe this is what she meant.” It was Ralphie’s turn to tell his story, from his spotty memory of getting the gem, to his interactions with Wasp, to arriving here. They gasped at all the right moments and Ralphie felt pretty proud of himself for telling it well, if he was being honest. By the end of it, Wanda – who was strangely coming to terms with all of this, to Arnold and Tim’s dismay – was less than trusting of Wasp’s intentions.
“That doesn’t seem right, Ralphie. A crazed bear demon straining to fit inside our friend’s face wouldn’t be at the top of my list of people to make promises to. You still don’t even know if that’s what Ms. Frizzle gave you that gem for.”
“She said it was to protect all of us ‘just in case.’ And if I don’t have to give it to Wasp until we’re all back together… maybe I won’t have to?”
“A crazed bear demon is definitely not at the top of my list of people to double-cross, either.”
“Well, The Friz will know what to do. We just need to find her, Carlos, DA, and Keesha, and everything will be fine! I bet she’s got all of this under control.” Ralphie looked confident in himself while Tim and Arnold gave each other terrified glances.
Arnold opened his mouth to protest when a rush of crackling energy sent him and Tim flying in opposite directions, yelping sharply as he hit the ground.
A third door popped open and out stepped Ms. Frizzle, Dorothy Ann, Keesha, and a very disheveled Carlos.
“Oh!” Ms. Frizzle said with a delighted smile. “Hello everyone!”