244 Days Until Lessons and The Uncertain End
Evester directed Andre out of the fast track spiral and to the floor that Kim had specified. The group chat was a mess of plans, and false information, but of this, Evester was certain. Their messages were monitored thus the need for false information. Luckily their code had been established early on between them and no one had ever been able to break it. No one yet, he assumed. Still, even with a unbreakable code, they needed false information littered with the real. In that was the floor they needed to get off on for the supplies they required. Namely: clothes. Circle attire and battle clothes like he had, for Heia and who ever was stupid enough to follow him. Circle attire would be necessary to get them into Valaria, above even manners or their fake identification.
Upon arriving at a charging station for the bus, Evester got out of the vehicle, choosing to only expose himself. Robee, Trace, Heiiphilia, and Shawn insisted on coming much to his dismay.
“You are going to need people to carry the stuff back.” Robee warned him. “We aren’t letting you go alone.”
They still did not trust him. They feared that he would leave them and disappear. They feared that this was all just an elaborate hoax. Or they really cared about his safety.
He doubted it.
“Fine.” Evester nodded to Andre and Kori who barricaded the doors, as Layla led the bus to a safe location Evester had specified, to wait for them. While people were likely to want to steal from them, more would be inclined not to trust them. This was good for them not to be bothered, the want of the Tower people to kick them out and keep them away. However, the glares and eyes that followed them were more eyes than Evester wanted to deal with. He tried to ignore them, focusing on the task at hand.
“Where are we headed?” Heiphilia asked him.
“Where?” Evester wasn’t sure. He had the address and the name of the location, but he wasn’t sure what it was. All he knew was that it was a safe house for EverDanger. Leading them through the streets the familiar reminders played.
“Remember to pay your taxes. It is tax season and everyone must do their part.”
“This Tower is your home. Make sure to pick up your trash.”
“If you have a problem, remember to contact your local enforcement agency. For a better Tower. For the betterment of all.”
“MAY asks you to be the on the look out for the following face. If you have any information on him, be sure to inform your local enforcers. Enjoy this lovely day.”
They approached a building, that had been listed. An apartment complex that stood out in no particular fashion. Up the stairs and to the specified door, Evester knocked twice.
“It’s Tax season.” he called out to it when no one answered.
“It sure is.” The door opened to Kim’s face. He knew that face anywhere, even disguised under a mask and layers of makeup. Circle on her hand concealed, she pulled Evester into a large hug.
“I thought it would be a connection. Not you.” He ran his hands along her shoulders imprinting her figure and body into his mind. It had been so long. He hadn’t thought he missed her, but he did. He had missed her so much that his heart ached now.
“Not me?” Kim scoffed. “Are you insane? If you wanted us to get the clothes you requested in a timely manner we need more than a day fair warning. We are here because we were waiting for you. We’ve had this all prepared from the day you contacted us with the number of people you were traveling with.”
The day that he had told the world that he was alive he had messaged them. He had sent the message to meet in Valaria, and to prepare the clothes (or rather “Valaria” and the number of travelers). Then he hadn’t been sure if he could use their help. Then he was certain that he’d need them to kidnap a Star, should Zeydar disagree to join the cause. He knew they would prepare, without him having to say much else. The second set of messages had bene them telling him where to meet them. Yet, Evester knew from Kim’s words that the clothes and modifications, based on the age and measurements he had given them upon arriving, were not completed.
Evester led Heiphilia and her family inside. Robee, shut the door behind him and Evester dropped his disguise. In the room was most of EverDanger: Kim the Talented, Crass the Calm, Uly the Genius, Rayda the Strong, and Phil the Shapeshifter. Lynx the Creative and Onyx the Shadow were missing.
“Lynx and Onyx are up in Valaria getting us a path out. We’ve been waiting on the lower levels.” Rayda spoke up.
“For me to arrive?” Evester laughed. “How kind.”
“That video you put out?” Phil spoke up. “I can’t believe that you’d do something like that.”
“I wasn’t planning on it. But this one.” Evester pointed to Heiphilia. “Wants to save the world and all her people, not just some people. Not just prissy Circles.”
“I can respect that.” Kim nodded. “So we put in the order. Lynx and Onyx will deliver on floor Infinity.”
“Infinity?” Heiphilia clarified with a cough. “How many floors are there?”
“The final floor is called two things.” Evester answered her. “The Limit or Infinity. The official name is “Limit to Infinity.” People are lazy and choose one or the other. It’s the floor before we enter Valaria. Where immigration is.”
“Which—“ Phil cut in, “means that we have to get you through, Mr. Wanted World Wide.”
Evester shrugged. “It’s tax season.”
Everyone laughed with the message. Evester eyed Heiphilia and the others who were mildly confused.
“Tax season.” Kim answered with a small smile. “It’s always tax season. It never ends. Circles live in luxury and we have it once a year but the Towers live in forever taxes. It’s not a season, it’s forever. When Evester first sent the message to us we couldn’t believe it, but we’ve asked. Trust me.”
Evester remembered that message. The day he had escaped the city of Ovaria and moved to the Tower to leave he had sent his farewell. In code he told them “it is always tax season.” He figured they’d understand he was in the Tower with that and with each subsequent update that he did give, he had used it as a code of where he was. At least in some way, that was.
“I don’t know why that’s funny.” Hephilia grimaced. “Doesn’t that mean that the people are being exploited for your luxury at all times?”
The eyes of his friends went to Evester. Rayda spoke up. “Where did you find this one again?”
“She’s needed, the project specified her.” Evester shook his head. It was Circle humor that she’d never understand. There was no way that he’d be able to explain it, but he needed to be careful around his friends to make sure they didn’t offend her more. After all, he still needed Hephilia to make it to The Uncertain End. “I suppose you all are coming up with us?”
“Yes.” Kim smiled and then looked behind him. “Whats with those two?”
Evester looked to Robee and Trace who were eying his friends with large expressions as if they had identified them all despite their disguises. “Fans. Now, we don’t have time to lose. We need to return to traveling up.”
“How much time are we looking at?” Phil asked jumping up.
“Two Hundred Forty Four.” Evester answered out of habit.
“Days to get up there?” Phil laughed. “We have all the time in the world.”
“Until The Uncertain End.” Heiphilia clarified for him. The aura in the room did not change despite the information that was given. Even though, the end of the world was no joke.
“We have all the time in the world.” Phil repeated, his voice lower, anticipating the end of times and savoring it on his lips. The mood of Everdanger had shifted a bit from completely nonchalant to heightened. This was another mission, another game to them. And truly? Evester was willing to fall into their enthusiasm.