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This is the first part of chapter 3, Scions of the Sphinx. In this scene, Bobby is coming home to check on his parents after being away for several months. The transition is both real and metaphorical, as it symbolizes the changes he has undergone in the past two books and sets the stage for the main conflict. Where are Bobby’s parents? You can catch up on previous chapters at


The next morning after breakfast, Bobby and Jinx departed the Eagle’s Nest via the sphere tram. Passing through the marble lobby embedded in the west wall of the biodome, Bobby marveled at how the gyroscopic pod conveyed people from a subterranean forest beneath the Coachella Valley to an office building in downtown Los Angeles in just a few short, albeit gut-wrenching, moments.

As with prior trips, the supersonic journey provided little opportunity to contemplate the matter. Before he knew it, Bobby and Jinx were both stumbling out from behind the massive air-conditioning unit that concealed the entrance within the skyscraper. Awaiting them was a black Escalade, with a pair of commandos dressed in civilian clothes ready to take them to Bobby’s house.

They drove in silence, with Bobby and Jinx in the backseat and their escorts up front. When they pulled up outside his house, Bobby hopped out and turned to the soldiers. “You guys mind waiting in the car? My parents have bad memories about armed men in their house.”

Jinx gave him a quizzical look, which Bobby pointedly ignored. The driver simply nodded and turned on the radio. The agent in the passenger seat pulled out a smartphone and began tapping away.

Heading to the front porch, Bobby used the spare key his parents had given him before his departure. As he inserted the key into the lock, Jinx tugged on his arm. “What was that about your parents having an issue with armed men? Your parents weren’t even here when the Academy’s goons came for you.”

Bobby shrugged. “I just didn’t want them coming inside in case…”

“In case what?” asked Jinx, rising on his tiptoes to look over his shoulder as Bobby cracked the door open and stepped inside.

“In case this,” said Bobby, making a sweeping gesture with his hands. “It’s a Sunday afternoon. Dad should be glued to the TV, watching college football, while my mom is in the kitchen baking.”

“But I don’t hear anything,” said Jinx.