275 Days Until Chaos and The Uncertain End (part 2)
The bags were stacked tall, packed full of things Heia knew and items she had never seen before. It had been shortly after breakfast that her siblings had come back home. Seven smiling faces told her that there was only good news, but even then she wasn’t sure.
“What is this junk?” Heia picked up a heavy yet flat block of metal. They had brought many of them.
“Holoblades.” Kori ripped it from Heia’s hand before turning it on. The blade was not blue as the online videos showed, but a bright orange.
“That’s no holoblade Kori. You got ripped off. Holoblades are blue or white.” Rumored white, there was no actual proof of actual white holoblades or footage.
“But look.” Kori thrust the blade into Kony’s hand and it shimmered to a light blue. “I think Kony has Circle blood in him.”
“Not possible.” Kony shook his head. “I’m no Circle. If I were a Circle, you’d be one too Kori.”
“Doesn’t explain why the blade goes blue for you.” Kori rolled her eyes and turned off the blade. “We got their weapons. Enough holoblades to protect us. I took some shields too. I was only able to find two phasers. Stupid Circles keeping a tight eye on such powerful equips.”
Phasers? Heia’s eyes lit up at the word. Circles didn’t have magic like Stars. They didn’t use staffs but equipment designed for them: holoblades, shields, phasers. Phasers were said to be able to be used by anyone even when holoblades took some skill to use. Phasers were military equipment, and kept to the military in specific, while holoblades were easily accessible for Circles, because of the skill they required.
“It wasn’t that difficult to get the Phasers. We could get more if we have more time, now that we know where they are.” Karla disagreed from further back. “Send us back and we can get more.”
“Good work. You’ll go back, but not now.” Heia praised the triplets for their great weapon haul along with the food that Karla was helping their eldest sister Layla place away.
“Everything is the same,” Robee was the biggest of them despite being younger than Heia. He, Trace, and Layla formed team one while the triplets formed team two. Layla and Andre hadn’t liked that the youngest three were off on their own, but they had demanded it saying it was better for them to be together with their team work. Heia didn’t care especially if Layla insisted on being a part of the ground teams. Layla wasn’t much of a fighter and she needed both Trace and Robee to pick up her slack. The triplets could do so much more without the eldest’s nagging.
“Did you expect under Heia’s leadership that it would?” Andre was the eldest brother of three, but his control came not from strength, knowledge. He had been the only one of them accepted into and to graduate from a high ranked university. Andre was supposed to help their family succeed, instead the Catastrophe took that from them.
“Not with you here, no. She’s an idiot though.” Robee tossed Trace a bag, who handed the bag to Layla and Karla.
“Next time, I go with you.” Heia crossed her arms and held her ground. “Layla and Andre are more suited for leadership and kindness.” She didn’t like having to tuck in the kids, tell them bed time stories, and pretend that the world outside wasn’t a scary nightmare. Heia may have found them, but Layla was a better caretaker, they all knew that.
“Itching for a fight?” Trace laughed.
“And why wouldn’t the she-demon herself be itching for a fight?” Robee mocked her as well. Trace and Robee were never particularly close before The Catastrophe. Before, they had been at each other’s throats ready to rip each other apart rejecting the family ready to claim they were outcasts that the world would never understand. During the Catastrophe they were all the other had. Both had left the house and when the disaster struck they had been stranded on their own able to find each other only after days of searching. They had been on their own together, thinking that the rest of the family had died, for two months. Heia figured that sort of time changed a person, a relationship. She knew it had with herself and her siblings. Before she had thought of them as extra mouths to feed and obnoxious. Now she knew what it felt like to be willing to die and kill for them.
“Heia.” Layla’s voice was always the smoothest, calm, collected, low, direct. “You must remain with the children.”
“And why is that?” Heia was five years younger than Layla and every day their sister looked more like their mother than the girl she had once been. “I’m stronger than you, and you are better suited for taking care of the children.”
“We need someone strong to protect them, in case…” an Aralax came to kill. Heia knew the remainder of that sentence and she hated the thought of it. Robee was stronger than she was. Trace was faster. Yet Heia had been the one to see the Aralax and take one down. The Night of Destruction had taken far too much from those in the city. Her parents had been taken with The Catastrophe and many more died on that night.
“I don’t like being a last resort. I want to be on the front lines.” Heia glared at her sister.
“Front lines? This is the front lines Heia. These cities are the last places where we can fight to survive. We are losing the war against those creatures. We are losing the war for survival. You have to protect our home or there is no use for what we do.” Layla didn’t raise her voice. She spoke evenly and clearly. It was an explanation not a reprimand and it sent Heia’s blood on fire. “You don’t get to be the hero out there. You do that by being here and helping those kids.”
“I don’t want to be a hero.”
“It sure seems like it.” There was the snot nosed brat of an older sister that Heia had grown up knowing.
“We need to protect this stash from all prying eyes.” Kori changed the conversation for them. “Everyone needs to buckle up and start training in the holoblades.”
One by one she threw the blades to her siblings. From there she explained how to turn them on. All blades remained orange but Kony’s that was blue. Heia starred into the fire of her blade knowing that she could slice open just about anything with it. This was power. To bad she had no idea what she would ever use it for.
Heia’s eyes met Layla’s. In them Heia saw the answer that had been drilled into her from the hellish year they had been through. They did not need heroes. They needed to survive.
“Speaking of prying eyes,” Andre cut in, “it seems like unwanted guests are here.”
All eyes were on Andre, and only silence permeated the room. ‘Unwanted guests’ was code for sellers: Xs who went around stealing boys and girls, women and men for their bodies so they could sell them.
“Keep a tighter control over the young ones.” Layla stepped forward. “Everyone else be careful.”
No one joked about the seriousness of the statement. While Heia was worried, she didn’t think any of her family was stupid enough to get caught by the guests in their city.