227 Days Until Wishes And the Uncertain End (part 2)
Heia walked into Esthaisia’s office finding Europa, and Evester already sitting. She felt her heart leap from her chest having only expected Evester to be there. In a way she wanted to glare at Endwin who had said that Evester had asked for her. In other ways she knew that she may not have wanted to go had Endwin said the whole truth.
“Endwin shut the door.” Estastia directed Heia to take a seat next to Evester who was sitting in Circle clothes all black, but formal. He wore no face disguise, dressed as himself and clearly uncomfortable. Heia took the seat, trying to keep whatever she had left of her nerves, from spilling out in words before rational thought.
“You finished reading then?” Evester began the conversation as Endwin went to where he was to stand. “Endwin and Europa?”
“They will read what I give them.” His mother placed a sheet of paper before her, carefully stacking the papers and keeping her eyes level. “As I figure, you will answer what you will to me.”
“Anything that doesn’t hinder my path to stop the Uncertain End.” Evester agreed.
“Which is what your father intended for you to do.” She had still not looked up to them. Her eyes continued to look over the papers as if they were far more interesting.
“You read the notes. What do you believe he intended?”
Heia expected for there to be an argument. Instead his mother sighed, looking up only then. “He was training you from childhood. I never understood why he had me support your childish endeavors for EverDanger.”
“Now you do.” Evester shrugged. “Leading up to the Night of Oblivion, he had me running the Tower to escape notice.”
Which was how he got through the Tower with them into Valaria, how he planned to escape, and had escaped with the world looking for him the first time. It was the first time Heia was hearing the words that she had always known somewhere in her heart.
“And you three are required to stop it. The Magician Zeydar, Acardia’s survivor, is why you are here. Correct?” From her drawer she pulled out a picture of the man, placing him on the table before Evester and Heia. He was dressed in some sort of uniform, as Heia understood it, and seemed filled with dread. Regardless of how he looked, Heia knew it to be the man from the party, the one who recognized Evester.
“Correct.” Evester did not look at the photo.
“How do you save us Evester?” Estashia leaned back in her chair, arms against the arm rests. She was asking a question she already knew the answer to.
“The Space program.”
“How will that help us?”
“We aren’t aiming to save the planet. The project was to save humanity, and the way to do that is to get us off the planet.” As Evester said the words Heia felt everything she ever knew turning to dust. Her mind had gone blank and all she could think of was: what?
“You are serious?” Europa asked with more poise and care. “That project was discarded. Once in space where would we go?”
“I have no clue.” Evester shrugged. “The space committees of the past found planets similar to ours, no?”
“In galaxies light years away.” Europa protested.
“You aren’t skilled in astronomy or space travel, are you Heia?” Estastia asked her, leaving Heia’s heart like a rock in her chest and her throat closing up in stress.
“Not close.” Heia answered the best she could as she tried to wrap her mind around the truth. All she could think of was her family. Her dead family. If they left she’d never be able to visit them. The history. The cultures. This was their world. They couldn’t just run.
“And you,” Estashia looked back to Evester, “nor Zeydar are. How are you to finish the project?”
“That I can’t tell you.” Evester answered in a way that convinced Heia that he did have a plan, despite Heia having no clue what it could be. Despite no one in the room having an idea what that plan could be. He said it so carefully, delicately, that Heia almost trusted him.
“Where is your father?” Instead Estashia changed the conversation. There was a sort of bitter sorrow in her voice, and a tinge of fear, from what Heia could hear.
“He’s not dead, I don’t think. Once we get Zeydar, we are going to get him.” Evester shrugged nonchalant. He was being evasive on purpose now. For what purpose, Heia needed to understand faster than everyone in the room.
“How were you picked? The notes don’t explain it.” The conversation flipped again.
“I do not know. The project picked us, but dad didn’t leave those calculations. It’s one of the things I want to know when I find him.” Evester answered as Heia thought. Was he keeping secrets to keep his family safe? He had to be.
“Father knew Evester was a choice back all those years ago?” Europa asked Estashia.
“He did.” Estastia answered. “I had let him live within the fantasy of the Catastrophe because it made him happy, and it was his life’s work. For years I had been remorseful and a bit resentful that I had let him move to Ovaria to continue the project for the last of what MAY allowed. When he told me he was going to continue it in secret when MAY ordered the final shut down, I had thought to report it regardless of the fine. He was my husband, and having him so far with you was… but I did not, because his happiness was important to me. Hearing him speak on the calls about you and the project each night was enough. To think that decision…” Estastia gave Evester a smile. It was a real smile, something that a woman of her stature did not give often. It was pained, but filled with love and lit up her face like all smiles did. “We will continue to foster the children. I have created their aliases. I don’t believe you are bringing them with you?”
“No. I don’t plan to.” Evester did not seem to care for the smile that was filled with so much love. Heia resented him for that.
“My siblings are coming.” Heia disagreed.
Evester gave her a look that told her that they would talk about it, if not today then later. Heia would not leave her siblings behind. His mother handed Evester his notes, from under the table, in better folders than he gave them to her. “I made full copies.” She held up the files on the desk. “and will lock them up once your siblings have read what they can.”
“Thank you.” Evester took back the files and held them tightly. No one missed the way his fingers curled around them and he seemed to relax, truly relax. For months they had been his saving grace, and even here in his home, he was on strange land. He was just as much of an outsider as Heia was, she realized. “We are going to find him mother.”
“I have my doubts on that.” Estashia no longer was smiling.
“We will save everyone.” Heia tried instead. “I don’t know if I believe the project either, but we are going to try.”
“Of that, Heia, I have no doubt. The Yasloughve Project has never been wrong.” Estashia’s eyes bore into Heia’s soul, devouring all doubt that Heia clung to, and filling it with dread instead.