240 Days Until Frustration and The Uncertain End (Part 1)
Heia watched as Evester slept next to the others of EverDanger under the watchful eye of her siblings. He looked the most relaxed that she had seen him since meeting him, sleeping on the shoulder of the red-haired Kim. His bag was held loosely in his arms as they sat in the back of the bus. Every time he’d slept before it’d been holding his bag tightly in a corner, half awake, half coherent, half ready to kill if necessary. Right now he was snoring and snuggled up close to the rest of EverDanger. This was perhaps the deepest sleep he had gotten in months since he began running, and Heia couldn’t help but feel bad for him.
“It’s hard to look at them like this.” Shawn spoke from next to Heia in a whisper. “Rayda is lying there with drool on her face. Rayda. Immaculate Rayda who never has an expression outside of disdain or general boredom. It’s so odd, like how did I not realize they were real people?”
“Granted.” Robee spoke from next to him. “Until now they’ve been using those disguises.”
As if them being in disguise had aided in their celebrity status. Now, here, they were exposed. Each of their features were clear of makeup or prosthetics obscuring their looks. They were a myriad of hair colors and skin colors mixed together in a group of people who captivated, what felt like, the whole world. The only one awake was Uly who sat looking out the window in the dark night as Andre drove them up the Tower. Uly could hear them, Heia was positive. But Uly did not make a comment or any indication that he did. Uly sat with his long dreadlocks pulled back, starring out the window until his dark hand moved to push Evester with the lightest of taps.
Evester woke in a fright, hand to his holoblade. Eyes wild surveying the bus and tension large in his body. His action startled the others of EverDanger awake — eyes open, not moving, except for Phil who pretended to sleep more — and Heia wondered if he had been sleeping as deeply as she thought. She watched as he physically relaxed, and controlled himself as if they all hadn’t just seen his reaction.
“We are approaching The Limit.” Uly’s voice was the deepest of EverDanger. Glasses on his face reflecting the city lights, Uly turned. “What’s the plan?”
“Death.” Evester faked a yawn, or perhaps it were real, Heia was not sure anymore. “What else?”
“Mmm? Are we there?” Kim stretched her arms as she got from her sleeping position. All the EverDanger members began to move one by one, Crass kicking Phil awake who sat up in a fright and glared at him. Perhaps, Phil had truly not woken up.
“I was enjoying that dream.” Phil snapped.
“Sure.” Crass rolled his eyes. No, Heia understood, Evester woke him too.
“Death?” Uly repeated. “Morbid.”
“Mmm.” Evester stretched himself, eyeing the bus this time more nonchalantly. His guard was lowering by the second as he looked across the bus to Heia, where she sat with Shawn, and Robee as Trace and then to the others who slept with the children. “Time to meet Lynx and Onyx.”
The infamous twins, who had been constantly confused for each other in the early years of EverDanger. Their androgynous style and, often, lack of words had made them hard to tell apart. It was only as they got more screen time that the distinction between the two could be made. They were identical and they played with that, however Lynx often quoted from things Heia had never read. Onyx was also more of an adrenaline junkie.
It was then that the bus started to slow down and they began to approach their next floor. The view from the front of the bus said that the fast track did not continue much further.
Adrenaline junkies. That’s what EverDanger was.
“Who’s going with?” Evester asked as he moved himself out of the tangle of his friends and approached Heia.
“We are.” Shawn answered him. “Obviously.”
“Trace.” Robee threw a shirt at Trace.
“What?” Trace snapped, throwing it back. “I’m awake.”
“Good. We are headed out.”
“Alright.” Kim spoke to Andre, standing and directing everyone’s eyes to the entrance they were approaching. “Good morning everyone! The Limit is here. Welcome to Infinity.”
The bus pulled up to the top of the fast track path, the only direction was into the grey ceiling above and through the entrance, or back downwards. They moved through the entrance and too the last floor of the Tower. Unlike the lower levels the homes were more rundown, worse for wear, blinking in far more color and noise. This was infinity, where people hoped to make it big, or to get the scraps of the Circle cities.
“Ah… The sweet, sweet smell of misery and suffering.” Phil laughed.
Heia glared at him. Another joke, about the state of the X’s who hoped for a better life and tried to emulate it by creating cities that mimicked the high and powerful. Unable to achieve it because of the ancestors who had ruined those chances.
“Where are Lynx and Onyx going to be?” Evester asked Kim, ignoring Phil.
“Where else? Evester, your favorite place.” Kim turned to him with a smile on her face. Evester seemed to be confused for a second before his expression shifted.
“That’s the worst idea we’ve ever had.” Evester stated it as the others all laughed.
“Where?” Andre asked as he pulled to the exit.
“Holy Bloom.” Kim directed him. “Number one Casino of Infinity.”
“A Casino?” Heia asked. She didn’t understand why it was Evester’s favorite place.
“I was banned from there from cheating.” Evester answered. “If they catch me inside… The government will be the least of my worries.”
“How bad was your cheating?” Robee asked.
“Horrible.” Phil answered. “He was the only one who got caught.”
“Rayda wasn’t playing.” Evester defended himself.
“That’s because she was on look out duty. Rayda’s never been good at games.” Phil shrugged.
“So you got caught cheating?” Shawn clarified. “Did you steal money?”
“I got caught, but the others won a lot of money, particularly Onyx, Uly, and Phil. I say a lot. I mean a criminal amount.” Evester answered. Heia thought to the three. Uly made sense, as he was the brains of the group. Onyx and Phil were called The Shadow and The Shapeshifter for a reason. Onyx was gifted in mimicking others and being able to read them. Phil, on the other hand, adapted to situations. Heia never would have thought both of their talents would get them rich.
“We were paired up. Phil and Kim. Uly and Crass. Lynx and Onyx. I was alone.” With Evester’s words, it made sense to Heia why Phil won big. Kim had helped him.
“Look alive people. It’s time to get ready to blend in to high society.” Kim called to them all leaving EverDanger in laughs, but Evester who seemed to be dreading it.