YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 27 (CHAPTER 174)

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130 Days Until Adaption And the Uncertain End (part 1) 

Zeydar stood aside as Kony recited and practiced the magic spells that Zeydar had gotten for him. Zeydar had been called to the Superiors multiple times, and with each time, he had picked up books from the libraries while under direct supervision. Like he had on the bus, Kony absorbed the information like a sponge. He was excellent in his magic control, however his technique was severely lacking. Kony came across as a mage who had only begun, even if he was better off than half of the classical trained mages that Zeydar had seen. Regardless, Kony was far more skilled than he had been months ago.

“Was he never trained?” May stood by Zeydar observing with him.

“What part of, came from the Undercities, don’t you get?” Shawn chastised her. There was a bit of frustration in his voice that made Zeydar wonder if they had, had the conversation before.

“I thought you meant you found him there, not that he was…” May’s words dropped as she continued to stare out. Zeydar knew that she was sheltered, as he had been, however the facts were there for her to read. Kony looked just like his siblings.

“He was classified as an X.” Zeydar spoke nonchalantly before shouting to Kony. “Try that one again. Aim higher.” Kony nodded and did as he was told.

“How?” May asked Zeydar. “We have tests! He should have been here with us.”

“The protocols for testing have been a mess for ages, you knew that. It’s why non-mages exist.” Zeydar looked to May who grimaced. He could see that she was struggling against her world views. He wanted her to understand him, and his world, and the truths that the Superiors had hidden from her. With Kony, she was forced to confront it. He hoped that she would believe him about all the rest. He wanted her to know of the lies. He wanted her to see how Circles truly functioned as a society. He needed her to know that the Stars were corrupt and the X’s were suffering.

He needed her to know that the Dreams were not his decision, his choice, his–

“They’ve always been about controlling the elites. I told you that.” Shawn added. While Shawn did argue with her a lot, he was doing a better job at explaining the discrepancies, knowing them better than Zeydar did. 

“What are you training him for?” May shot a glare to Shawn, but changed the conversation. Zeydar had no doubt that they would continue the argument later.

“To fight Aralax.” Shawn answered taking the segue and going with it.

War, Zeydar thought to himself. In time the Superiors would be their enemy. And, should he be correct and the Superiors turn their back on Humanity, he needed to have a force to tear them down. Kony needed to be strong enough to have his back. May needed to be on his side and broken from the corruption of the Superiors. Zeydar needed to understand his magic.

So far, he was zero for three.

“There are no Aralax in cities.” May reminded them.

“We won’t be in cities for long.” The way Shawn said the words made Zeydar’s skin crawl. It was a promise, a threat, a confirmation of Zeydar’s worst fears. The end war was coming for them even if they did not want it. The Uncertain End was closing in.

“Zeydar.” Zeydar turned on his name to see Europa who was waiting for him. She was dressed in light greys. He rarely saw her out in the courtyard. He figured she had far more exciting things to do than to watch Kony’s practices. Excusing himself, and telling May to train Kony, Zeydar hurried to Europa.

“Yes?” She had to have something important to discuss if she had come to find him.

“We will be having meeting for the next few days.” She handed him a stack of papers. “Review these. They are debriefs that you must know front and backwards.”

“Meetings?” Zeydar hesitated to look at the paperwork.

“The ones that matter.” She flipped open her journal with her. She showed him her schedule that was soon to be his schedule. “Tomorrow we have a nine o’clock with the Circles allied with mother. You are scheduled with the Stars in two days time at six, and in five days… World Council meeting. We must be a united front by then.”

“I will do what I can to assist.” Zeydar said holding the papers tightly in his hands. The Star meeting was going to be his first solo talk. He could feel it in his bones. This was a mandatory meeting and the Superiors had been able to work themselves into getting their claws on him again.

“I would not doubt it.” She watched Zeydar cautiously. She pointed to the notes. He nodded and she went to walk but stopped to look at him again. Her eyes trailed over his body in an agonizingly slow pace. She eyed him up and down, testing words on her lips but not saying the,.

“Yes?” Zeydar only voiced the question after she had starred at him for more than a minute.

“Phil made a comment.” She answered as if the moment had not been awkward. It was as if she had not examined every inch of him, debating, contemplating, hypothesizing and planning. She had worked out his entire future in that minute, and at least had the decency not to tell him. He felt naked before her. He felt like a child before her. She held the world in her palm, just as her mother did.

“About?” Zeydar was afraid of what she would say next. His mind started spinning. His body started sweating. The air became frigid and his ears started ringing. He needed Sweet Dreams more in that minute than he had in the last day, the last week, in forever. He needed it.

“Evester.” She said the words ‘and you‘ with her eyes. All at once Zeydar thought of Evester and everything slipped away. Focus on me. The need disappeared. The fear disappeared. The world cleared and Zeydar cocked an eyebrow at her.

“It’s nothing.” The words sounded like a lie then more than they ever had before.

“I hoped that wasn’t the case.” Europa let him say the lie and pretended she believed him. Zeydar was at a loss for words. “Somehow I was hoping he’d grown up.” She called out to him as she walked into the house. “Tomorrow at nine. Please be prepared.” When she disappeared, Zeydar hesitated to go back to Kony.

All he could think of was Evester and how Evester’s name, his face, his voice, was able to get Zeydar to control himself. Evester had conditioned Zeydar in those months to believe in him more than anything. Even now Zeydar did. The pain the thought brought him, made him want to collapse. There was nothing between the two of them.

How he wished there was so much more.

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