I’d thought I was prepared to battle the Sun King. I’d trained my whole life.
But the Sun King I knew was different from this one–he never fought back.
Maybe I shouldn’t have reminded the Sun King how to be mad. Maybe I shouldn’t have hunted him down at all.
I wasn’t scared. Nothing scared me, not even giant fireballs.
But I didn’t feel good about it. Seeing the Sun King again. He’d acted like he couldn’t remember anything, that he had “amnesia” and nothing bothered him.
But when he blew up at me…I knew. He carried the same anger I did, but why? He was the one who hurt Mama and my grandparents. He should feel sorry, not angry.
Why did my heart hurt when I thought about him? Was it was because I was so mad that I didn’t fight back?
For some reason, I knew he wouldn’t be at the temple if I went back. He liked to hide, which was a really dumb way of fighting. Maybe he was scared too. Not that I was scared.
Well, I could always find him again–I was an expert Sun King tracker.
The birds were experts at finding him too…
I just wanted to know where he was, I guess. It didn’t mean I was gonna go after him this time.
…Maybe I could just do some reconnaissance or whatever. Just to see where he was. I didn’t have to get too close.
…I tracked him down to a weird place, half-underwater. He was sitting all by himself, not even sprawled out on a towel or dropping fresh fruit into his mouth or anything.
Was he plotting something, like the Sun King he was? Should I try to get the jump on him? I could probably beat him like this.
What was he thinking about? How to kill me, probably. And everyone I loved, because that’s what he did.
“Righteous,” the Sun King said. “You came to see me, hurricane mama?”
I sat down beside him, even if some sand got in my shorts. “I don’t like not knowing stuff. Where my enemies are. Why they do what they do.”
“Whoa, am I your enemy? Thought we had a friendly thing going, dude.”
“You’re kind of my arch-nemesis,” I admitted. How could he not know that? “…Why’d you do what you did? To my mom and my grandparents. The Lady of the Sky and Emperor of the Moon have to be familiar to you, even if Mama isn’t.”
“…We used to be friends, me and your grandparents, you know? Tighter than friends. Did everything together–it was rad. And then one day…”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “You decided to destroy them?”
“The sun, the moon, and the sky–they’re all supposed to go together, yeah?”
“…Until,” he went on, “the sky and the moon didn’t want the sun around anymore.”
“It was like a night without day, dude. No place for me.”
“So you were in love with her?” I asked. “My grandma?”
“…I loved them both, little hurricane mama. Thought we’d be together forever…that they’d never leave me alone…”
“So why–why’d you hurt them?” I demanded. “If you loved them so much. You better not lie.”
“…They made somebody new. Without me.”
“Mama,” I whispered.
He shrugged. “They didn’t need me anymore… There were only supposed to be three of us… But then there was no love left for me.”
He kept talking. “I was all alone…”
“I should’ve stopped watching them. But I could see as far as the sun’s rays could reach, you know?
“When they were with me, I never let my rage consume me. But when I was alone… Got so mad I ripped the sky apart. I didn’t mean to–I didn’t want to hurt anybody, especially not them…”
“That’s an excuse,” I said. “Not a reason for hurting people who didn’t deserve it. So you didn’t even really have amnesia…”
“…I wished I could forget loving them so bad–and hurting them even more. Been trying to make up for it ever since, bringing sunshine to humans, being chill. And the humans love me, you know? I’ll take love wherever I can get it. …Does your family hate me, hurricane mama? As much as you do?”
Papa Griffin believed in punching, but Papa Fox believed in forgiveness. And Mama…she wanted to look forward, not back. “I’ve decided not to hate you anymore. Unless you hurt my family again.”
“Far out,” he said. “The sun can burn, but it can also not burn, yeah? Plants like the sun, surfers like the sun…do you like the sun?”
“…It’s okay, I guess.”
“Bet I can make you like it, brah.”
“We’ll see about that, Sun King.”
I slung an arm around his shoulder. “It wouldn’t hurt to be your friend, I guess–unless you burn me. I don’t have a lot of friends either.” My family had only one rule: never be lonely. Did that mean I should make sure he wasn’t lonely either?
He was really warm. In a good way.
Maybe Papa Fox was right about forgiveness…