216 Days Until Failure And the Uncertain End
Zeydar stood in Evester’s yard with all too many eyes on him for Heia to feel confident. She was nervous for him, for she would be shaking with the pressure that came from their intense stares. Zeydar seemed to completely ignore the gazes of all those around, but Heia didn’t believe it. There was no way anyone would be able to disregard it all. They stood watching as Zeydar examined her brother. Zeydar’s eyes darted from Kony to Heia, to Evester and back to Kony.
“Stay back.” Zeydar’s warning landed in the silence of the world as they watched his every breath.
“Will this be dangerous?” Heia knew nothing about magic. He had said the spell was simple, but Heia was not sure she could believe that. She’d seen magic that could silence the world and she’d heard of what magic could do in other cases. Their weapons could destroy Aralax so easily. What could this spell do that could hurt her family?
Zeydar had told them that what he was planning to do was a probe. He’d move his magic through them, and through the world around them. Both in an effort to know their status as either X, Circle, or Star, and to see if he could read the Tower’s defenses. If Valaria was going to fall, he may have been able to read it in the body of the Tower now. Perhaps, was the key word however, not even he was certain.
“Not for anyone but me.” Zeydar answered before speaking directly to Evester. “Did you get it?”
“My mother said it will arrive here in the next few minutes.” Evester glanced back waiting on the secret that the two of them had, another that Heia had no hopes of understanding. If they were to be a team, why was it that she was kept in the dark? Less than it being impossible to create a well functioning team with those conditions, Heia was tired of being left out.
“Get what?” Heia demanded. The secrets were no longer going to be accepted, she decided then.
“A testing unit for testing magic and rank.” Evester answered not seeming to understand the need for her hostility.
“If there is one of you who is a Star, there may be more true Circles.” Zeydar went on. “We need to recheck.”
Heia felt her heart rise to her throat. Rechecking everyone? The thought sent shivers through her. Could more of them be… Circles? Kony was the only star from the way Zeydar made it seemed, but Circles? Her family could have more Circles?
Zeydar seemed to give her no other thought as he moved further from them and sat down, her brother trotting after him. At first Zeydar sat cross legged, then he sat back with his legs out. Finally, he laid down and his breathing relaxed to a soft hum. Arms behind his head, and eyes shut, Heia almost wondered if he were sleeping when she felt something tap at her in the sense of a wave.
It was a bit less than a light breeze that dissipated faster than she felt it. It left a tingle within her body that made her want to scratch at her skin. Evester’s yard was deadly silent as Zeydar did whatever he needed to do. She knew that they all felt it too, and knew it to be magic. Off to the side, but close still to Zeydar, Kony stood clenching his arms with wide eyes. Kori had approached him, asking if he were okay. Heia watched as her brother fumbled for words to describe what he had felt, but it had been different. None of them had felt as he had, and while this did not prove to Heia that they were not Circles, it proved they were not Stars.
It was no more than ten minutes of silence later that Zeydar sat up with a grimace. He looked to his hands and then to the sky before saying, “Your mother is here.”
On cue Evester’s mother walked to the door, opening it for a man to bring out a small machine that was far different than the testers Heia had grown up seeing.
“Test everyone.” Zeydar stood up preparing to walk back into the house, as to say that his little show was over. Where was the grand reveal of Kony as a Star? “There are a few inconsistencies here.”
“Where are you going?” Evester asked him as Zeydar disappeared into the house. The question was met by a muffled voice from inside. As Zeydar moved inside the house, the tester took Trace’s hand to retest her. They’d gotten through Trace, Robee, Andre, and Karla, before Zeydar returned, pupils dilated and breathing slower.
“I don’t have the magic to sweep over the whole Tower quickly.” Zeydar rolled his shoulders back, moving lethargically back to the grass. Dreams, Heia understood. His voice was even smoother now. “So I’m going back in and going to see what I can see for longer.”
As he laid back down Evester shifted his weight and gave Kim a look. Kim shot him a nod back and Heia knew then that they were planning something else she did not know about.
“What are you planning?” Heia asked in the best version of the code that she had been taught. The action seemed to catch Evester off guard.
“We are going to detox him.” Responded in code, far more quickly than she had.
“Forcefully?” Heia wasn’t sure she agreed. She also was certain she didn’t like the idea of having to rely on someone who needed Dreams to use their magic.
“If he’s going with us, he needs to detox before we can leave. We have less than two weeks.” Evester’s sentence took Heia a second to translate. Evester then signaled for the testing to begin once more. He switched back out of code. “We need to plan out who is coming with us and how we are traveling. I will have EverDanger secure the vehicles. Do you have anything you need in specific?”
“Not that I can think of right now.” Heia spoke carefully. Two weeks? They were leaving before the destruction? “When do we plan who is going?”
“Tonight.” He seemed to want to say something else, but did not. “Are you going to get retested?”
“I’m a true X. You know that. Just as you are a true Circle.” Heia had hopes that the rest of her family could be, but Zeydar had already confirmed her status. The Yasloughve Project needed her, and that meant she were a true X. There was no point to retest.
“I suppose, as long as you have confidence.” Evester shifted his weight again, placing his hands in his pockets and moving to sit in a chair to wait for Zeydar to finish what ever he was looking for. Heia followed him, sitting knowing that she was about to be bored out of her mind. As she waited, she began to make a list of everything they could possibly need for the trip. With each thought she reported it out, and Evester accepted it.
The one thing she knew she wanted, she’d never get. She wanted to save Valaria. Not just to probe it for issues. Not just to warn the Council. She wanted to save everyone, and she needed to figure out how to convince Evester.
When Zeydar awoke an hour later only Heia and Evester had remained. The grimace on Zeydar’s face told them that he was unable to find anything. It either meant that there was nothing as he said, until the a few days before. Or it was his magic, as Evester believed, being hindered by the drugs. Heia was not sure she wanted to ask, since Evester seemed to make his own assessment of it.
“Nothing?” Evester stood walking towards him.
“Nothing.” Zeydar rolled to his side before he somehow got up. He was still high, and Heia wondered if she’d ever seen him sober. “I should return to Star Campus. I still need to look into the manipulation of the connection.”
“How long will that take?” Evester’s impatience was beginning to show.
“I told you, it can take a while.” Zeydar shot a glare back to Evester and for once Heia fully doubted him.