270 Days Until Havoc and The Uncertain End (part 1)
Zeydar was discouraged from leaving his room too often after he had been taken during The Night of Oblivion. Security was tighter, the Supervisors were convinced he was in danger, and they told him to practice. To practice, to reign in the powers that had destroyed a CloudCity. To have him study and practice before his birthday tended to be their major concern in regards to most things. He thought there may not be more that he could learn. So he had learned to escape the campus under their nose, and studied different magics and theories. He had broken into the library and gone to parties. Zeydar wanted to know everything.
The moment that Zeydar became a Superior, there would be nothing they would be able to control him. He would be their equal with a voice in the council. The council as a whole could tell him what to do, but not on an individual basis as it were now. Perhaps that was why they told him to study more, despite the fact that Zeydar had been Superior level for years in terms of knowledge and skill. They wanted to be able to control him.
From the windows of his room, the city of Valaria was glowing and alive in all neon shades. Gardens and parks began to bloom in a bright green with the light of the sun as the sky began to become day. He’d staid up the entire night? Again? When was the next time that he had to go and practice? The optional ones weren’t much of a difficulty, but the mandatory ones were. The mandatory ones were where he was scored. Good marks on his participation score were necessary for becoming a Superior. One slip up would cost him everything.
Calculating it in his mind, Zeydar determined the next one wouldn’t be for at least three more days.
Placing his Staff away, Zeydar moved across the room to his stash. Pulling out the package he thought of the tablets in his hands. One dissolved in his morning tea by his Superior supervisor, “unknown” to him. Two more now would be exactly what he needed to be able to get through the day. Tablets in his mouth he let the them dissolve on his tongue before he laid down, eyes to the ceiling.
The process always took a bit of time and once the Sweet Dreams grabbed him, it did not let go. Since he had upped the dosage, the high came faster. He experienced the blending and bending of reality for far less time, skipping straight into the dreamscape he had longed for. Into the place he wanted to be. For other people the time it took to hit the dreams was different, but they all experienced the blending. There was a commonality in way the world began to ignite, and the way that time bent. They all felt the ways in which reality and dream melded and the people in your world existed until they didn’t and you were somewhere else — somewhere in the past. Colors grew, exploded, twisted, and grew once more. Sounds vibrated across the skin, in the air, resonating deeply within. Most people that partied like the blending, not so much the dreams. Those who liked the dreams took enough to speed up the blending and live in the dreams for longer.
He held his hands to the ceiling looking at the way it lit up from the sun outside his window. The light seemed corporeal. Hands moving through it, he thought of the spells to control the light magic, and then it appeared in his fingers sparkling. Of course it wasn’t actually there, it just seemed like it. He knew that better than anyone. It wasn’t like any Magician could use magic without a Staff on them. He had no such devices on him and so this movement of the light? It was the memories. It was the Sweet Dreams. It was–
“Zeydar.” A voice startled him to sit up. Tyler stood at the door. His loving and strong Superior. Tyler was not his father, as Zeydar was always reminded. He was young, Zeydar had to remind himself, too young to be a father by the standard Superior practices. He was not exactly a big brother either, being Zeydar’s Superior Supervisor. Tyler was Tyler. Brown hair and eyes, soft smile, tall, powerful, and everything Zeydar had once hoped to be. “This isn’t how you practice magic.”
“What! This is insane!” The computer screen next to Zeydar echoed. Videos of daring feats in Ovaria. He had been watching the videos after binging through all other sorts of them: fashion, comedy, and somehow he had ended up on EverDanger’s live cast.
“EverDanger is live.” Zeydar held up the computer, trying to justify his lack of practice.
“Oh?” Tyler walked in. “Won’t it be online later for you to watch? In your free time.”
“Tyler.” Zeydar complained. “I don’t see why it matters. I have all the spells memorized and mastered.”
“No one can ever be a master. We work towards mastery—“
“But it’s a goal without a limit. I understand.” Zeydar still did not want to practice.
“You really like EverDanger. Should we have them give you a visit?”
“No.” Zeydar sneered as he rolled his eyes. There was no way EverDanger would come to visit him even if he was a Star and to be a Superior one day (as was the case with all Class 1 Magicians). EverDanger was the single most well known celebrity group in the world. They had billions of followers. The World Council even had to be weary from them. Zeydar had heard the Superiors whispering it. Plus Evester Igialistal bowed to no one. He was practically royalty of Valaria, the center of the world, and the leader of EverDanger. Why would he come to see a Class 1 Magician who was not yet graduated to a Superior yet?
At Nineteen, Zeydar was the youngest candidate for becoming a Superior. He knew he was ready this time, unlike last year when the Council had said he was not. Maybe if he succeeded then EverDanger would meet him?
“No?” Tyler chuckled.
“EverDanger would never visit me.” No matter how much he wanted to join them. No matter he wanted to challenge Kim or Phil. No matter how much he wanted to learn from Uly. No matter how much he wanted to have a conversation with Evester, son of the head Scientist supervising the Yasloughve Project. No matter how much he wanted to reach out and touch Evester, cataclysmic playboy who never dated. No matter how much he wanted to look into Evester’s eyes and… No matter what, he was trapped. And EverDanger would never come to him.
“Then I suppose all that means is that you can practice.” Tyler smiled a wide smile. Tyler’s smiles were always the best.
The sky changed to darkness as screams echoed on outside. Tyler was nowhere to be seen as the door was left wide open. Zeydar got to his feet and ran to the window where he saw the gardens and parks of Arcadia burning. Some people were chanting. Others were yelling other things. There were inhumane screams and the sounds of fighting.
“Zeydar.” Tyler called from the door.
Zeydar turned to him. “Tyler what is happening—“
Tyler held his side, bleeding badly. He had been majorly wounded. Zeydar ran up to him to help him to the ground. “You need to run Zeydar.”
“What’s happening? Why is Arcadia on fire?” Something about this was familiar, was not right, was not how it was supposed to be.
“Monsters. The Project said the monsters would come and they came. They came in the riots. You are in danger.”
“The rioters. They still do not know of the monsters. We were repelling them but the rioters were trying to destroy the city. They are coming here. They are inside. You need to move.”
“Tyler?” Zeydar moved his hand to Tyler’s face as he heard footsteps of many people coming towards his room. Tyler’s eyes looked into Zeydars and the familiar glow of sunshine reminded Zeydar that this wasn’t real. Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. Only happy thoughts when Dreaming.
Zeydar shut his eyes closed and relaxed back into the sunlight.
“Are you coming or not?” Tyler asked as Zeydar opened his eyes. “We have practicing.”
“I’m coming.” Zeydar got off the floor, the live stream of EverDanger playing in the background as he followed Tyler deeper into the Sweet Dreams.