205 Days Until Transportation And the Uncertain End
Evester’s blood was pumping faster than it probably needed to be. The faster it moved, the faster be began to sweat. The faster he sweat, the faster they would be noticed for being out of place. Deep breaths in and out, over and over, calming himself until the moment Uly gave them the clear. He needed to calm his racing heart even as he wanted to bounce and run. The way this fear made him feel exhilarated him. They could be caught at any moment.
Dead breaths in and out, Evester kept himself from standing out. That was part of the task and make his mind swim faster.
Kim glanced over her stun gun before turning to him. “Ready?”
“Yes.” Evester opened the eyes he’d been clenching shut, to look at Kim and Heiphillia who stood pale and clearly anxious. He kept his voice steady. “Worried?”
“Yes.” Hepihillia glared at him. “Does it have to be today?”
“Yes.” Kim and Evester said at the same time. They had discussed the matter all too many times. To keep Zeydar best hidden, they had to move him in the middle of the day through the city. It wasn’t optimal for any of them but the general need to move him. The day was supposed to be like any other day, but for some reason there were more soldiers about than normal.
Evester’s soul sang. Everything was so vivid, clear, defined. He was certain that if he tried, he’d survive just about anything. When was the last time he’d so fully lived in the sensation? The state of The Immortal, was about him. This Evester could do anything.
“Team Five is good to go.” Uly called over the intercom. He was the only one not on a team, instead staying back to work as their eyes from Evester’s home. He was tracking their movement over cameras, as well as the movement of the mages.
“Team 1 approaching team two.” Crass spoke back. Evester jumped up to his feet looking for the car that would soon arrive. There were five teams of three and it would be the teams that were to transport Zeydar, changing his appearance with each change. Team one acted as the final sixth team, transferring him by car, from the original facility to Team Two, and from Team five to the final home where they’d keep Zeydar. When Evester saw the car, he started walking off leaving Kim and Heiphillia to do what they had agreed upon. All three of them would be too noticeable. Evester walked over to cashier of the cafe to pay as he recognized Kim’s voice greeting Zeydar.
The transaction was short and sweet, leaving just enough time for Evester to turn around and see Zeydar standing looking miserable, but otherwise well disguised. Kim gave Evester a look and they began their movement away from the cafe and to change his disguise. Evester took a separate path to intercept them, and lead Zeydar into a corridor without cameras in order to change his appearance.
“How are you feeling?” Kim asked Zeydar.
“Miserable.” Zeydar answered. “But it’s fine. The next vehicle will be smoother. Right?”
“The next car? Much.” Kim agreed, despite the next car being the last part of the journey. That wouldn’t be until Uly and his team gave Zeydar back to Team one. They quickly changed Zeydar’s appearance with a wig and a hat, some new clothes, and Kim touched up his makeup to ensure that he looked healthier.
“How was the journey?” Evester asked over the headset to seem as if he were speaking to Heiphillia.
“He’s horrible.” Shawn answered. “But survived. The trains might kill him.”
“He gets motion sick.” Robee added. Evester thought of the next and longest part of the journey.
“Do we need to replan?” Crass asked.
“Stay on path. I’ll reevaluate. Evester your team takes last rotational, Crass your team is now on prep. We will meet you at the hideout.” Uly answered urgently. Evester knew better than to ask if something had come up. If Crass’ team was on prep, that meant that there was a chance his team was being watched. Evester’s team originally was supposed to go to the Contact’s house and prepare it for Zeydar, now Crass, Shawn, and Robee would. Hopefully it would give them time to disappear.
“Easy enough.” Evester answered to the order.
“Let’s go.” Kim started walking with Zeydar in her arm, pulling him forward. Evester held Heiphillia back a bit longer before exiting and keeping their distance by a little bit.
“This means you will have to act as support.” Evester warned Heiphillia.
“I can do that.” Heiphillia’s voice did not crack, unlike how Evester expected it to. Since getting Zeydar her nerves had been erased. She was ready to fight if she had to. Her training had come in play and she was far more prepared for this than he had expected. “We head there after?” To the last location where Team One was originally to meet Team Five.
“Yes.” Evester glanced around to make sure that they were not being watched. The idea was to do it so smoothly that no one would notice that they were suspicious. Evester could hear Kim’s laughs as she told Zeydar a story. Military Mages moved through the crowds watching, along with general security. City wide announcements spoke as advertisments, of searching for Evester, as well as how Zeydar was missing. Zeydar walked right by some Military Mages without getting so much of a glance from them.
“How are they not able to recognize him?” Heiphillia asked Evester as they walked on.
“No one was able to recognize me. Uly’s covers and our makeup team are infallible.” Evester answered her, hoping that they weren’t just acting as if they had no clue. It was a lie to keep her from freaking out, but no matter how he looked at it, Zeydar looked a bit suspicious. He was dragging his feet, looking down, seemed way too lethargic.
Or perhaps Evester was simply over thinking based on the information that he had. Maybe they thought him tired. Maybe they thought him being dragged around by his girlfriend. Maybe they thought him coming down from a high like many Circles often were at this time of the day.
Their walk led them to the trains that connected all of the city, and the system that they were going to abuse. One car, one walk, multiple train rides, another walk, a last car to the location.
“Team two approaching team three.” Evester spoke out to the world.
“Standby, Train is approaching. We will be there in a few minutes. Will update status.” Lynx spoke simply. Uly had mapped out the trains and their schedules to the exact path and exits that the two teams would have to take, to blend in, not to stand out, and all join up before taking Zeydar, and then separating off. Most of the path was linear, team one to two, team five to team team one. However when it came to the trains, the plan, while linear, had a lot to do with timing. Team three started a distance away, and would intercept team two, on a train, then move Zeydar to the next set of trains. Team four would start in another direction, intercept Team three, take Zeydar and move on the trains to where Team Five would meet them, take one last train to where they’d then walk. If a train broke down, things were screwed. If someone missed a train, on transfer, the whole mission would have to be reworked. The plan had a chance of falling apart. Kori and Kony had volunteered for teams three and four despite knowing the risks of getting lost.
Kim led them into the train station, paying for her and Zeydar with their passes, Evester and Heia followed, moving closer and enacting part two of them all interacting together. Evester stood next to Zeydar was they waited on the platform. He spoke to Zeydar about nothing, things they’d created in their alibi training.
“Approaching.” Lynx warned them.
“We see you.” Kim answered.
“How are you feeling?” Evester asked Zeydar for real.
“Is everyone going to keep asking me that?” Zeydar leaned against him a bit. “Sick, tired, horrible, but I’m fine. I can do this.” Zeydar’s head rolled against Evester’s shoulder. Evester struggled not to wrap his arm around Zeydar to support him. Zeydar had to stand on his own.
“Kony will have a drink for you and snacks. Ask him.” Evester kept his arms crossed.
“It might make me sicker.” Zeydar whispered.
“You are going through withdrawal.” At an expedited rate, not that Zeydar knew that. He thought he was still on his planned schedule, but Uly had adapted it to make it less than Zeydar had told them, until they completely cut him off. “You need to keep your strength up.”
“I’m fine.” He repeated as the train came to a screeching halt. Evester led Zeydar onto the train, looking through the compartment with a side glance to see Onyx, Lynx, and Kony sitting away from each other, but close enough. Evester led Zeydar towards Kony who looked up and with almost perfect innocence, greeted them.
“I didn’t realize you were out.” Kony was disguised to look similar enough to Zeydar to look related — enough. “Are you headed home?”
“Late night.” Zeydar answered. Kony patted the seat next to him and Evester began to talk to Kony about small talk and details that no one would care to listen to. School, family, parties, life, things they had discussed in length when speaking about each one of Zeydar’s aliases. Kim approached them and began laughing while Evester knew Heiphillia approached Lynx. The train moved, bumpy, but Kony was able to support Zeydar. Zeydar mentioned how he might get sick, but Kony gave him snacks that was supposed to settle his stomach. People got on and off, and with each rotational, the six moved slightly, apart from each other. When the last bell rang for the transfer exit, Evester said his goodbyes to Kony. Most of the train car was different, and thus began the true journey on the trains, one that would take hours.
“I’ll get him home. No worries.” Kony smiled before standing and helping Zeydar. They walked to the door, while Evester went to the other side. Zeydar would be escorted off, they’d change his disguise, get him on his next three trains, through multiple stops, around the city, transfer with Phil’s team who would do the same, and then Rayda’s team would be the last train, nearly back to the exact location where Zeydar had been brought on.
Evester only broke his disguised smile when they were far from the station and headed to where the car would be waiting for them. They were take the car around, and then back to the final pick up location which was a store where they’d meet Rayda’s team.
“How do you feel?” Kim asked Heiphillia. It was then that Evester looked to Heiphillia who was gasping deeply.
“That was dangerous.” Heiphillia answered, trying to control herself. “I’ve never been so scared that everyone was starring.”
“But?” Did she love it like he did? He had to know.
“No buts.” Heiphillia glared at him, taking a deep breath and ready to move on. Kim sighed dramatically as they came upon the parked car, speaking nonsense but the lies they’d crafted. A man stood there standing waiting, listening for the key words.
“Name of contact?“ Evester requested once they were close enough. The man would not let them in without the name, the last piece of information that would get them into the car and then to the house.
“Micha.” Uly answered.
“Understood.” Crass called out.
“Micha? Micha Rayblay?” Evester asked almost tripping over his own feet. Evester thought of all the information he knew of the Rayblay family. His smile was back on his lips and adrenaline was rushing.
“Yes.” Uly answered.
“Who is that?” Heiphillia asked unknowing of the politics of the world.
“Don’t worry.” Kim answered finishing the key words that made the man fully notice them. The man looked up disgruntled.
“Micha.” Evester approached the car. The man steadied himself against his name. Evester looked over him noticing how much he had aged. The last time he had seen the man, he had not been in disguise, however, so Evester was almost certain that added age.
“What do you want kid?” The man eyed the three of them.
“The code is —“ Uly began but Evester ignored him.
“A Queen must have heirs. Two is not enough. You have three but this boy… he’s going to kill himself if you don’t stop him.” Evester stood before the man. He would let this man know who he was, for Micha Rayblay was not a simple contact that their mother had given them. Uly knew that. “I was never intended to be an heir.”
“Eve—“ The man cut himself off. He shook his head. “You were never supposed to hear that conversation.”
“Mother got you on our side for this risky endeavor?” Evester had almost been certain that their families political rivals would never have agreed. The Rayblay family had stood against nearly every decision the Igilistal family ever made.
“The Rayblay family has always honored the Igilistal family. Whatever you request we can deny.” He answered unlocking the car. “We act as the antagonist in order to further strengthen your family. You know this, my prince.”
Evester did not want to think of how corrupted their political system was when the lead opposition was only acting as opposition to strengthen a single family. It was why he had used the statement to let the man know who he was. He’d always known, but he did not like to think about it. “Is the cabin our hiding spot?”
“It is. Now get in.” He spoke opening the door. Evester got in followed by both girls. When Micha began to drive, they changed their disguises.
“You have the path?” Kim asked.
“Yes.” He answered. He then spoke to Evester. “The rumors were true then? You did sneak in?”
“I was assisted in.” Evester answered. Micha would know of all the allies that Evester’s mother knew of, perhaps even ones she did not know. The Rayblays were the dedicated family to protecting the Igilistals. “Was it you who helped Uly with the aliases?”
“It was.” He answered. Evester had little doubt that it was also because of him that Uly had complete access to the camera surveillance.
“The Rayblay family is in cyber security, as well as citizen registry. Micha works on the City Council, and is the leader of the oppositional party to the Igilistal party.” Kim explained to Heiphillia. Micha did not seem to care for more small talk as they drove through the city.
“Team three approaching team four.” Lynx reported after much time had passed.
“Team four on standby.” Rayda answered.
The exchanged was made and then there was only chatter of Rayda’s team and silence.
“Team four approaching team five.” Came hours later, and Micha began the can, prepared to move them to the last path for them to take.
“Five approaching.” Uly answered.
The exchange was made, and the car rounded it’s last path into the anticipated traffic.
“Team two heading to rendezvous point.” Evester spoke simply.
“Copy.” Karla spoke simply, her first time responding to an order.
“Team three has arrived at the safe house.” Lynx reported.
“Safe house is prepped.” Crass reported.
“Rounding the corner now.” Kim spoke out.
“Team five approaching team two.”
One after another the comments on the headsets brought Evester back to the state of clarity and focus. This was the final leg, and Evester’s heart rate spiked.
“Park there!” Heia pointed to the spot that had just become available. The car was parked, and Evester got out to stretch a bit seeing team five. Zeydar was completely different now, disguised and looking sicker than before. Evester moved to meet them. He greeted Zeydar who hugged him, falling into the alibi. Zeydar was shaking. Evester brought him to the car after finishing the dialogue that had been planned. Zeydar was placed in the center, near many sick bags. Kim had moved to the front and Evester sat down beside Zeydar. The moment the door was shut, Zeydar leaned against Evester with his full weight breathing out in gasps. He was sweating but also shivering. He’d used so much energy already.
“How are you feeling?” Heia asked him, handing him a blanket.
“Worse than before.” His breath was ragged, as he clung to the blanket, wrapping it about him trying to black out the world. Evester wrapped his arms around Zeydar knowing it was the comfort that Zeydar needed. Or was he only doing it because it would be how he’d react if any EverDanger member was sick? Evester was not sure.
“We are almost there.” Heiphillia whispered.
“I know.” Zeydar shuddered and leaned more on Evester. Evester noticed how Zeydar felt much smaller than he truly was. For a time, they sat in silence until the traffic began to thin out and Kim put on music. Zeydar’s shaking began to lessen as he pressed his head against Evester’s chest.
The car approached Rayblay ranch and once they crossed the threshold, Evester’s heart slowed and his gut pulled in pain. They had made it, had made it through the entire city without, being stopped once. Were they, the Stars, really looking for Zeydar? Would someone recognize the odd behavior later? Teams reported their status as they approached the cabin.
The car was parked and the doors open, just in time for Zeydar to vomit out on the ground and collapse weekly. Evester and Kim helped him to his feet as Crass met them. They had been successful and that was all that mattered. They had three days left until the collapse. Crass gave Evester a look that told him that they needed Zeydar off the drugs, and that it had to be now. They could not wait any longer. Evester gave the nod to go ahead with the plan.