208 Days Until Fire And the Uncertain End
The world was on fire with announcements, news reports, and searches for Zeydar as Evester and his team continued to move the detoxing Star from place to place. Heia was forced to continue to train as EverDanger continued the act that could get them caught at any moment. Business as usual, as if nothing was going to happen. Heia was certain that Evester was relishing in it, even if he said nothing.
Europa sat in her mother’s office, door open, as Heia moved from the training areas to her room. Europa was pretty, like their mother, and as she sat in her mother’s office reviewing notes, Heia realized just how similar they were. The heir to their family was like Estashia in every way, concentrating with sharp eyes and a complete lack of expression.
“Can I do something for you?” Europa asked without looking up.
Heia realized then that she had stopped walking. “No…”
“When you seen Evester next, tell him that we have secured the passage to move your family to safety. Evacuations will begin in the next few days.” Estashia tossed out the words, flipping through the notes, as if she were singing to open air. As if the world had to bend around her to do it no matter the cost.
Evacuations, for the destruction of a Tower. They were trying to stop it but now Heia was not sure they could. Zeydar could find nothing, and if there was a chance that he was related to the destruction… “What about those in the Tower?”
Europa looked up then. “We are securing the evacuation reports for them, but there is no guarantee anyone will accept our notion of evacuation. For to be out of the Tower is to be subject to death at all times.” Heia knew this, not that it made her feel any better in any way. “Is there anything else you want to know?”
“No.” Heia shook her head.
“Then that leaves what you need to know.” Europa stood up, moving towards Heia from the office. Heia felt her heart rate accelerate as Euopa gracefully crossed towards her. When Europa stood before Heia, eyes focused on Heia’s and watching her in a sort of ageless way, Heia realized that the younger girl felt older than her. “Evester is going to need to reveal himself.”
“What?” Would that not be a dangerous for their house?
“He needs to reveal himself, and what he has done on purpose. I know that Kim and the others have been editing the footage of their admittance into Valaria. Your family will be edited out, should you so wish. I would ask for it to be included as proof that the testing that has got on for generations has been wrong. We would post it after the children and your family is safe, but we must have reason for unification of our people. The Uncertain End can only be ended with unification.” Europa smiled softly, a smile that told Heia to trust her. A smile that told Heia that this was a weapon being crafted and born, from Estashia with absolute care.
“But if they know Evester is here… then won’t they capture him?” Heia knew not to step back no matter how much her body screamed at her to flee.
“They want the information that he has memorized, that we have digitized, that we have copies sent to many safe houses. They want to know where our father is and Evester does not know that, but what Evester has is the truth and what we have is the chance to control the narrative. That we, as a family, have been aiming to save all of humanity.” Europa said the next words carefully. “We must control this narrative and we need your help to do so.”
“My help?” Her family. They needed her family.
“Is that not why you were chosen? To stand by Evester’s side as he faces the entire world?” Europa asked.
Heia wasn’t even sure why she was picked. “You want me to go to his trial with him?” She was an X crossed into Circle territory illegally. It was unheard of. “They’ll…”
“We will back you Heiphillia.” Europa pleaded with her, breaking the mask of indifference. “I promise that but we need you to say something, to do something, to represent your people on the World Council where they already have a limited voice.” Her words held so much raw emotion. The need to protect her family as Heia knew.
Heia was startled by the offer but knew it to be the truth. If she had been chosen by the Project she had to do her best to stop the Uncertain End. If that meant standing against the world with Evester… then she would do it.
“You will not be alone.” Europa reminded her. “You will have EverDanger, and your siblings that are going with you, but your voices will be the most important.”
“Does Evester know?” If he did, did he care?
“Why would he not? We ran this by him first. Evester is the one at the most risk out of everyone. He’s been hunted for months.” Europa sighed sadly. Heia could see the love Europa had for brother in her eyes.
“And then what happens. We stand trial…” Would they be forced to stay? That would put a pin in Evester’s plan. Had he agreed knowing that? Or did he have a plan to escape around it? Knowing Evester, which Heia had grown to, she figured it was the latter.
“You save Valaria for all to see and then disappear.” Europa answered. “Reveal, save, disappear. That’s the plan.”
“Disappear.” And leave her family.
“We are working on that right now, but yes. Disappear. Disappear and save the world like you declared you would.” Europa asked of her.
Somehow they’d have a path out, that much was clear. Heia wasn’t sure that she had the ability or the right to disagree. All she could give was a nod, before Europa turned and Heia knew she was dismissed. It was as Europa turned that the previously broken mask was snapped back into place as if it had never fallen in the first place.
Because it hadn’t. Europa was a master of her emotions and had used them to bring Heia to her side. Once Heia had given her the answer that she wanted, there was no need for them. Europa was not yet her mother, but she was becoming her mother. Or perhaps, a far scarier version.