210 Days Until Emergency And the Uncertain End (part 2)
Heia sat shaking in fear, body tense and eyes watering from blinking sleep from them too often. Everyone she cared about had been separated from her in the early hours of dawn. Her siblings were disappeared, the orphans taken, and she sat alone with Shawn in the waiting room as the house pretended to wake up upon the arrival of the Stars. They’d been awake for hours at this point, not that the Stars were to know that. The others were being rounded into the room, dressed in their night gowns all besides Evester who was thoroughly disguised. Once they had been gathered the searching began.
When Europa said that it was going to be an emergency and to do as told, no questions asked, Heia had not fathomed it would be like this. Stars were swarming the residence, casting spells, and searching for Zeydar. They were cross referencing everything, everyone, and all facts. The Stars were relentless in their pestering, scans, demands. Heia felt as if she would slip and make a mistake in her alibi at any moment as she told them about who she was, why she was there and what she knew about Zeydar. She feared they’d cross reference it with her alibi file, but her file was locked from what Endwin said. No one would be able to tell it was faked unless they had access of a higher priority than Estashia.
Heia hoped that no one would try to press further.
The questions asked were about Zeydar once they got tired of asking about her. When had they last saw him? What had they been doing then? Had he talked about anything in specific? Heia gave the answers she had known to give for the days since they had taken Zeydar. That no, she did not know where he was.
They were worse with Evester.
Evester, as Aether, was Zeydar’s fake boyfriend of sorts, or at least that was what May called him when she arrived. Evester lied easily, but they did not let him off that way. They berated him, harassed him, pounded him with questions on who he was trying to rip apart the alibi that he had better memorized than Heia thought she knew herself. Yet the way he said it felt all too real, seemed like they were truths, not lies, and for a moment, even Heia believed Aether existed.
“I’m telling you May, it is what happened. He was here and he said he’d come back but then he did not.” Aether held tears in his eyes as he looked between her and the other Stars, like they had to believe him. Like he was actually distraught upon finding out that Zeydar had disappeared. Had it happened again, like Arcadia? Was he going to be alright? Everything and anything about Aether’s soul was laid bare before them and all Heia could think was, where did he learn to act?
“No?” May glared at him. Heia was unsure if she saw through the trick or was trying to pound more information out of him.
“No.” Evester repeated.
“Go over it one more time with me.” She stated not buying the story for the tenth time that he had given it. Each time, Evester had said the same thing. Missing or adding details each time with each iteration, like one would when they repeated a story. The first time was one way, the second was more detailed, the third was shorter. They were looking for inconsistencies.
Sighing Evester repeated himself again, much in the same way but his story changed and Heia was not the only one to pick up on it. “He spoke about wanting to detox after I complained about it, and then—“
“Detoxing?” One of the Stars in the black hoods asked, picking up on the word. Her voice was light and airy, with a powerful undertone to it. Heia was sure she was a Superior, from the way she were dressed as only Superiors wore hoods and all black, Zeydar had told her. This woman was in command even if she did not act it. “Where?”
“I don’t…” Evester looked between her and May. Like he hadn’t thought the detail was important before. Heia wondered how tired Evester was of saying the same story over and over, for him to give such an important detail. On purpose or on accident? Not even Heia knew anymore. “He didn’t say he was going to but that he was planning on it. I don’t…” Evester stopped. Heia swore she saw genuine fear in his eyes. Planned or acted? “I wasn’t sure if you knew he was addicted so I didn’t mention anything.”
“We knew.” The hooded woman answered. “Do you know where he would have went?”
“No? Is it bad if he’s trying to detox?” Evester’s voice spiked as if he were worried about Zeydar’s well being in a different way this time. As if he feared he’d been the one to cause it.
“Magic is a fickle thing and with how he’s been abusing Sweet Dreams, one can only assume his magic will hurt someone if he has his staff and tries it.” The Superior told him, giving a signal with her hand to the Stars in the room to do something else. They started casting different spells, a few of them, moving about with a new mission.
Heia swore she saw Evester turn pale. “I didn’t— I just — It bothered me. It was why we broke up to begin with.”
“It’s fine.” Kim whispered to him. Her hand against his back comforting him. “They’ll find him.”
“I didn’t mean for him to do it today. Why didn’t he go back to Star Campus?” There were tears in Evester’s eyes. All the while Heia tried to think back to the EverDanger acts that she knew trying to figure out when Evester had learned to act so well, when they all had. Some part of her began to understand then, that it was a skill they picked up getting out of situations or into them. Just how good at acting were they all?
“Last time he tried, Star Campus was attacked. It is perhaps a fear of his.” May answered giving them more information than they had hoped for. Zeydar had been saying the truth when he admitted to being, at least, not in his right mind during that day. It also meant that there was far more danger to the situation than planned.
“We are going to run everyone’s identifications, just to be sure.” The hooded woman told May. “Do a final scan and then search and follow his tracks.”
“Understood.” May agreed and Heia’s heart beat wildly. Shawn gripped her arm telling her to remain calm. Their alibis would hold. They had to hold. This was the sort of danger EverDanger lived for and succeeded in surpassing all the time. This was the sort of adrenaline that Evester craved, the type that only made Heia sick. She was not sure she wanted to live in this adrenaline, not for a living. Unfortunately, this was her life now and there was not much she could do about that.
The Stars once more began to move through the house like they owned it. Estashia stood watching with a grit to her that said that they’d find nothing and if the Stars pushed too far she’d kick them all out. She was allowing them to be there because she had nothing to hide, but the truth that they were behind the disappearance. She had nothing to fear from them, and this was her power play.
If Estashia, who could possibly lose everything in her world and for the city if she were discovered, remained calm, then Heia could remain calm. Had to remain calm. Would remain calm.