226 Days Until Justice And The Uncertain End (part 3)
Zeydar stretched, eyes foggy, and mind as clear as it could be after the amount of tests he had been through. His thought process was shot, in truth. Words were starting to fold together and concepts blending to mush. His body was crying for rest, and all Zeydar knew was that he could not let it. How many hours had it been?
“Completed?” Superior Owen asked, not giving Zeydar much room to breathe.
“Yes.” Zeydar pushed the booklet aside. Magic identification, had not been all too difficult of an exam, but it made his eyes hurt from looking at all the video clips, images, plants, and otherwise, over and over again trying to identify even the slightest different between the spells. Then he had to give the spell words and principal, which was not on the initial tests as he remembered. Not that it mattered. He could do it — no, he had to do it.
Without another word, Zeydar stood ready to leave. What was his next exam? Was it not a verbal one? Was it translation or was it his Superior culture review? Did it matter? He’d pass it. He had no other choice.
Dragging himself from the room with a yawn, Zeydar saw May standing there, clearly having not slept herself. He dropped the yawn as fast as he could. He could show no weakness. “Did you bring my snacks?”
“Zeydar you should rest. There is no need for you to push yourself like this.” The weakness had been seen, much to his dismay.
How was it that she still could not tell that he was being forced into this? Or did she not care? Did they tell her he was a monster that needed to be controlled? Or did they tell her that due to his addiction he was doing this, that he was trying to prove himself to them and that it was all his decision? Did they lie and say he had forced them into this to prove a point? Did they tell her that he had to be kept back until he could master the addiction and “get better” and so they needed her to talk him out of it?
“You think this is pushing?” Zeydar laughed shrugging off the thoughts that were coming with a delusional mind. May was his best friend. He had to believe that. “I could do my next exam now, too bad that I have an hour break.”
Could he nap in an hour break? Perhaps. He had done it before, short napes of ten minutes to try to keep his mind alert. But what if they changed the next exam location and didn’t tell him? What if they changed the next exam time and he got there late? Getting to an exam late was not an option. It was as bad as not passing the exam perfectly, although perhaps he could show off his true skill — No. He could not get cocky. He needed to use all the time he was allotted to rest, without pissing them off. Just because they hadn’t done it yet did not mean that they wouldn’t try.
He could do this. He would do this. He had to.
“Is that so?” Majorie asked having heard what he said, the moment they exited the hall towards the main doors.
Could he take it back? Would that be showing weakness? No it would not. He could humble himself and… his lips were moving faster than his brain. “Yes. I could.”
What did I just say? Zeydar was at a loss for words as his mind snapped back into focus.
“Then lets reschedule the interview for right now.” She smiled knowing that he wasn’t speaking right, that he was sabotaging himself.
“Superior, is that not dangerous for him? He needs his rest.” May protested. May begged Zeydar to take it back with the look she gave him. He hesitated, trying to find the words.
“Child, he has asked for this.” Majorie spoke to her with kind eyes. “This quick schedule. You believe us to have decided this?”
Whatever considerations Zeydar had to taking it back and staying on their time schedule were lost in seconds. “Give me the exams back to back the moment I finish. Give them to me two at a time. No! Three. I can do it.”
Zeydar’s mind was spinning from standing after sitting from so long. The night was dark, colored by city lights and stars. Whispers of those who were following him reverberated around him in a cacophony of things he did not care to hear. There was a buzzing, like the sound of him waking from passing out, growing louder with each passing moment as words became more crisp, clear, full. His head was beginning to pound, and his mouth felt dry. Colors were blinking in and out of existence and there was a pain that he couldn’t quite place. To his hands, his eyes landed, steadying himself. They tingled in fury and his emotions. The magic in the air was kissing his skin, sending heat and cold flashes through his body all too suddenly making him feel nauseous.
“Do you believe that such an attitude will get you anywhere?” Majorie asked daring him to speak up again.
This time Zeydar was not nearly as irate. He needed to keep his calm. He could not let the Dreams change him and destroy him. “No. I’m simply irritable. I’m trying to do this clean and my head is pounding. I’m sorry.” Zeydar starred directly into her eyes. To tell with keeping it a secret that he knew. “I need tea.”
Majorie’s expression did not visibly shift, but her eyes understood. For a moment Zeydar saw her as a mother who had given birth to him. For a moment she cared. Then she turned away.
“You are tired. You should rest.” May disagreed.
“Tea is all I need and I will be fine.” Zeydar did not want to beg, but he tried to imply its urgency. If there was one thing the Superiors would not risk, it was him causing another Arcadia. They’d oblige and then his mind would be soothed again, and the sensation would go away. The noise would go away. The temperatures would go away. The vivacity would go away, again, like it always did.
“We can get you tea. Your throat will need it for the exam.” Majorie answered walking on towards the next exam.
“Much appreciated Superior.” Zeydar took his snacks and began to eat. The night was dark. The time, he did not know. He wondered if Majorie would keep him to his dare, and force him to do the tests back to back. If so, the hell would be over soon enough. If he could get them to do one test after another, then what worry would he have in terms of them changing times or locations? If he could get them to push them faster, in an effort to break him, then could he not get to his bed and asleep faster? The more he thought about it, the better the idea sounded.
When they arrived at the next verbal test, there was tea waiting, along with the three proctors. Zeydar took the tea, sipping it, ready to get himself back under control. The taste was familiar and he let himself sit on it, beginning the exam in earnest knowing it would kick in soon. But it didn’t and as the noises grew, and the buzzing became louder, his skin prickled and Zeydar stopped speaking.
“Is there an issue?” One Superior asked.
The tea had not been spiked. How had he not understood that? They did not want another Arcadia, but this time there were many Superiors ready to take him down in the event that he exploded. Screams… No. He would not lose control. It would only be a few hours. He could do this. He could. He’d done it before, for his practice exams. Those had been three days. But those had not all been back to back. His mind was taxed, his body spent, and the magic… it was compensating in a way that made his skin crawl.
No. He was not supposed to fall to it like this. He was not supposed to let it control him like this. He was supposed to be… supposed to…
“Zeydar?” Another Superior asked.
Zeydar finished answering the question, more elaborate than he had planned to. “Sorry I forgot the word for a second.”
He would get through this. Had to. Focused on the Superior exam and nothing else, he would get through this. The magic be damned, he’d get through this. He had trusted them to help him, in hopes that they would want to at least control him. But no. They were planning on controlling him through proving to him that he could not do it and was not ready.
Screw them then. He would not fail.
“Next question?” Zeydar let the smile slide to his lips, confident and filled with a fury that would not be matched. A contained fury, not an outward one. Keep it contained Zeydar. Prove that you can do this. Prove to them that you can control the power you were born with. But really, he was mostly hoping to prove it to himself.