A/N: Well, here it is, chapter The Last... Hope everyone is okay with the ending (though this is just a denouement, really...), and that the story was okay. :)

Thanks to Litty 122, Amethyst Asheryn and TheRedBandit for reading all the many chapters and for being patient with my updating and for all the nice commentses :)

Chapter 43

Merina, Theodore and Laniria were sitting together on Merina's bed. They didn't feel like dancing around wrecking the school, unlike the others. Theo didn't want to join the boys because he was afraid his grandmother would punish him, even though she was so happy that everyone was back. And Laniria was too neat to make a mess. So they just talked.

"I still wonder whose idea this was," Merina said. "You know, the idea for this story."

Laniria played with the green bedcover for a while. Then she said, "Actually, I know who it was. But she told me not to tell you…"

"Oh, come on, tell us!" Theo and Merina begged.

"All right…" Laniria said. "Well… actually, it was Sylvia."

"What? That b…" Theo began.

"Don't continue," Merina warned him, "or your granny will wash your mouth with soap." Then she turned to Laniria, "How could it be her? I thought she hates me and is jealous of me because I'm the teacher's pet."

"Well… she told me she only gave the idea because she wanted to help too. And she said she noticed you weren't that bad and snobbish after all."

All of a sudden, someone knocked at the door. "Who could that be?" Theo asked.

"Open the door! You're closest!" Laniria told him.

"Why must I always do everything?" he grumbled as he walked across the room and opened the door.

Merina and Laniria leaned forward to see who it was. "Diana! What are you doing here?" Merina asked as Diana came in. "Theo, Lani, this is Diana. The Author," she introduced her to the others. Then she asked her again, "What are you doing here?"

"I wanted to come to talk a little," Diana said. "Now that I've finally managed to get that mess fixed again! I wrote everything you did, and it worked!"

"So you mean you wrote us out?" Laniria asked.

"Yes," Diana said. "And I invented Merina's fight with the Story-Eater. I don't know how it worked, but I think… I think it's really dead now. And the Blue Tooth, too."

"Yes, it is," Merina said. "So it was all your idea?"

Diana nodded, "I've finished the story now. I wrote ahead everything we're saying right now, so it's all done."

"Great!" Theo said, pretending to be happy. Then he asked her angrily, "But why did you write us into the Blue Tooth in the first place?"

Diana shrugged. "I wanted an interesting story. I can't help it; it comes by itself. Nobody would read a soppy, unrealistic story with no action."

"Are we in the next story again?" Laniria asked.

Diana shook her head. "Naah, I hate sequels," she said. "People always say they're better than the first, but in my opinion the first is best. Even if people ask me to, I won't ever write anything about you again. I'll only make Merina angry if I make my story 'interesting', which means 'violent'."

"So you've finally learnt something!" Merina said.

"I have to go now, or my mother will get worried! I used your mirror-shard, Merina, sorry I stole it so long ago," she said, going back to the door. Then she stopped and dug in the bag she had brought along. "Forgot your present!" she said, handing her a book.

"Thank you!" Merina said, and turned it around to see the front. The picture on the cover was her drawing, the one she had made in Diana's world. Above that, Diana had written in the unnaturally neat handwriting coming from the computer 'Blue Tooth Home for Dropped Story Characters'.

"I bound it by myself in school," Diana said. "It's nothing special."

"It is special!" Merina said, paging through it, "It's my story, so it's special to me, even though it's nothing to you!"

"It's not your story, it's ours!" Theo corrected.

After a while Diana said, "There's going to be a party downstairs. It's starting now, I think… but I'd better go."

"A party?" Theo dashed out the door, followed by Laniria.

"I hope the Story-Eater part wasn't too scary for you," Diana said.

Merina shrugged. "You can't imagine what it was like. You only had to write it, not experience it! But then, you can't really help it. You've never been a story character."

"You're wrong. I am a story character," Diana said. "But I have a better Author. He is the only one who isn't a story character. And whatever He does is good for us, even if we don't think it is. He is actually also your Author, because He gives writers the ideas in the first place. Without Him, nothing would exist. I'm sure that you can also live without me. You didn't even know about me and most of the people in the Town aren't story characters."

"I've thought about starting to write a story too," Merina said. "But I don't know what I should write about."

"You could do it like me and invent new worlds and new creatures. Like I invented the Story-Eater."

"You didn't invent it. Andor said it was already long there!"

"Maybe all this story stuff works in a way that the story world happens completely normally, until the Author has an idea for what will happen, and it goes back in time to that place where it will happen. Or forwards in time."

"Could be," Merina said.

"I think I should go now," Diana said, looking at her watch. "My mother must be worried! I'm supposed to be doing my homework! Bye, then!" She took the stolen mirror shard out of her bag and put it on the floor. But again she stopped. "Will you forgive me, Merina? You know, about all the things I did?"

"You're long forgiven! I think your Author wrote that you would write this. Because it all led to something good: the Story-Eater and the Blue Tooth are gone now."

"Well… thanks for helping me write the story. Without your help, it wouldn't have come out so well…" Diana said. "Bye!" Then, she jumped onto the mirror-shard and disappeared. The shard still lay on the floor. So they could still write to each other!

Merina was alone now. She slowly walked towards the glass-less window. The sun was setting behind the mountains. She would never leave her story world again… Somewhere on the mountain ahead was the tunnel to Andor's beautiful world. But why should she go back there? It was beautiful, but more like a dream. The world beyond the tunnel belonged to another story. Maybe it belonged to a story by the Great Author…

The sun disappeared. A firecracker exploded downstairs. Miss Gimple complained and threw a big, fat Maths textbook from her office window. Merina put down the book, closed the shutters, and rushed downstairs. She didn't want to miss the party!