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The Long Road to Family

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None of them had been particularly thrilled with their apparent situation when they had first woken up. Being brought back from the dead is enough of a blow to your entire world view without being told that you’ll also need to reconcile with the past—or future—wives of your deeply flawed husband.

The culprit of this whole debacle had been some sort of accidental arcane ritual, enacted by a squadron of clueless and sleep-deprived university students—anything to avoid actually thinking about their exams and dissertations.

Now, trying to resurrect the dead in the vain hope that they could help you pass a history exam might sound like an unwise or immature plan—not the sort of thing a responsible student at a top university would do. But that’s what academia does to people. And it’s not like they had expected it to actually work.

Because building a pentagram out of old history textbooks and the Spice Girls greatest hits definitely shouldn’t have allowed anyone to resurrect centuries-dead ex-queens. And yet, there had been flashing light, harsh gusts of wind and a low, ominous hum. And they were just—there.

They’d been unconscious at first, the six of them, and somebody had had the good sense to suggest that they separate them into different rooms before they woke up, in case they weren’t too happy to see each other again.

It had taken several hours and a lot of very smart people banging their heads against a wall to figure out what had happened. And even then, nobody was quite sure how it had worked, only that it had. Despite any and all logic, those six women were, without a shadow of a doubt, the six wives of not-so-beloved king Henry VIII. And each of them was, unsurprisingly, not entirely thrilled with their present situation.

After finding them each somewhere to live, and doing their best to introduce them to the 21st century, the women were finally left to their own devices, in their odd-looking apartments with a variety of strange objects and utensils. They’d each been given a small, understated device they were told was called a ‘phone’ which would apparently give them access to any information they might want.

Once all the arrangements had been made, the students, and their poor, long-suffering professors, had breathed a sigh of relief, and resolved to give themselves tomorrow off.

Their plans were, unfortunately, foiled by the sudden, inexplicable appearance of yet another four women. These four were even harder to make sense of than the others, and it took a lot of research and discussion with the extremely dazed and confused women in question to work out who they were.

And then they started the whole process over again, moving the four bewildered ex-ladies-in-waiting into a small, shared apartment until further notice. They arranged a venue for them all to meet the next day, in the hopes that it might help to figure out just what exactly to do with them all. Renting seven flats in London was not particularly cost-effective, after all.

As a small upside to this entire affair, they did all manage to fall asleep in record time the following night, exhausted from the weight if such sudden and unexpected responsibility. But for the now ten women, that first night doesn’t see them getting much rest.

Not that they really need it. 500 years is more than enough time for a lie-in.