"The Children's Crusade" part 6, continued from Doom Patrol Annual #2. Tim Hunter, the teenager introduced in THE BOOKS OF MAGIC who has the potential to become the world's greatest mage, becomes enmeshed in Free Country's plot to recruit children of power. Concludes in The Children's Crusade #2.
This story is part of the story arc "The Children's Crusade" and is somewhat of a bridge between Neil Gaiman's Books of Magic and John Ney Rieber's Books of Magic.
Daniel comes back from the real world to Free Country after doing some jobs for Kerwyn. He has stolen a dancing statue for Marya, who misses dancing and the real world. She blackmails Kerwyn into letting her do the next mission to Earth.
When she gets there, she is stunned by reality, but still spreads generosity to the people she finds. She starts looking for Tim Hunter.
Tim has been unhappily living and going to school, without using magic, and sometimes wonders if the events in the original Gaiman miniseries were real.
Unknown to him, he is also being followed by two strangers.
Tim just goes home in the middle of the school day. His dad tries to talk with him, but Tim doesn't make it easy.
The strangers grab Tim at knifepoint and put a hood on his head, then they transport him to Faerie.
Marya brings a bracelet to a jeweler to be fixed. He recognizes it as a priceless piece, but she says she got it from her mom. The jeweler takes it from her, but a friendly waitress helps Marya get it back. She gives her an apple as a reward. The waitress helps her look up Tim in the phone book. However, his dad is outside, mourning his late wife.
The man who took Tim, Tam Lin, is surprised by Tim's need for glasses. He cuts Tim's bonds, and tells him he can have three questions. In the process, Tam Lin tells Tim that Faerie is drying up, and Tim may be the key to fixing it. Tam Lin gives Tim a rock from around his neck, but won't tell him what it is, and also gives him his gloves and knife. Then he strands Tim there.
Marya and the waitress finally get Tim's dad on the phone, but he hangs up. However, now Marya knows his address. She starts walking there. She is distracted by a school of dance, but keeps walking, and is horrified when she finally finds the very seedy neighborhood Tim lives in.
Tim leaves the gloves and knife and follows Tam Lin's footprints through the desert.
Marya knocks on the door to Tim's house, but Bill doesn't answer. While sitting outside, she reminisces about her early life. Her mom was a servant to the Russian empress. The empress selected Marya to be one of her dancers, which required very hard work. Then a kid from the Free Country freed her and took her to that land.
Tim has made it home after all, presumably with the stone, and finds Marya. She gives him an apple, and says she wants him to come to Free Country, as part of their plan to bring all the kids from the real world over, before the real world is no longer livable. She wants him to make it better in Free Country, however, since she doesn't like Kerwyn, and wants Daniel to feel happier.
She sends Tim to Free Country, but stays herself, and walks back towards the dance studio.