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85 Days Until Release And the Uncertain End
Zeydar shook out his hands for the eleventh time. Luckily his hands were under the table and his nerves did not show to the entire world. The press conference was underway and Zeydar was about to go mad. He was supposed to speak any moment an he hadn’t expected the Superiors to call his bluff. He had no proof of their duplicity, other than the fact that he could destroy Ovaria on a whim. He couldn’t just go around destroying Towers.
He had hoped that they would balk. He had hoped that they would bend. He had hoped that with Kony and his tactics, that the fear would have been enough. With no word from the Superiors it seemed unlikely that they had. He had to come up with something fast. Estashia was coming to the close on her statements and Zeydar had to decide. Without the proof he had two options. Would he betray his own or the cause? They could use the superior control over him to kill him. He had to believe it was possible, even if he had never seen it.
“Just say what you need to say.” Shawn whispered to him as Estashia closed and called Zeydar forward.
Zeydar shot Shawn a glare before he moved from his chair towards the podium. The World Council was before him in chairs and on their screens. His eyes landed on the Superiors dressed in black and in their hoods. They did not show their faces. He was already betraying their manifest by showing his own. He looked back to Kony and Shawn, to Estashia and May, to Europa and Endwin. He thought of Heia who was raising the people up and Evester who starred into his eyes with trust. He would do it for them, no matter the cost. The superiors could not kill him, but he was going to control them. They all believed in Zeydar’s ability to control the Superiors, and he was going to prove them right. The Superiors had called his bluff, so he was going to make the move without them.
“The Military Mages and the Circle Forces must join the X military. The X military must accept them.” There was a hushed commotion as Zeydar addressed them so directly. “The Aralax have taken down multiple Towers, have killed off hundreds or more LowerCities. They have destroyed us, but not any less than we have destroyed ourselves.” Zeydar looked to the world certain of what he was to say.
He had already gone over it with Estashia and Europa. The truth was horrible, but necessary. Estashia was busy trying to figure out which Circles had assisted the Stars with the death cities, but it was one of his strongest cards. He had no proof, but the proof he did have was damning enough. He needed to make them bend and he was going to do it now, here in front of all the world leaders. “The world already knows of the Unwanted Guests who were funded and protected by our own.” That got the room in a frenzy of looks and panic. This was broadcast live. The world didn’t know that the Unwanted Guests were funded by Circles and Stars. The X’s most certainly did not. Estashia could deal with the repercussions later. She told him that she would. He went on. “Some Circles found it in their best interest to assist the Stars with their tests. Tests on defeating the Aralax, on controlling their abilities, and on magic.”
“Superior—“ Majorie interjected. Zeydar had implicated the Stars as the major proponent of the human testing. It was only later upon arrival that Zeydar saw that the Stars had put out a public statement condemning a few to save the masses. They had said it was not a group effort. However all Superior acts were a group effort. He was going to drag the Stars into the sludge, and he was going to laugh while he did it.
Zeydar shot Majorie a glare. “Sweet Dreams was found at the location, and the drug was created and manufactured by the Stars.” Zeydar pointed back to himself to the documents that Estashia had received. They were redacted but proved the Stars had created the drug. “A drug that has destroyed many lives was created for one reason, a reason I know and I use now as proof that the Stars will stop at nothing to help.” And this was how he got them. Zeydar felt the tug on his soul, the burning desire to stop talking, to listen and to take it back, to mitigate the damage, to say he lied. Zeydar brushed the feeling off, pretended to struggle against it and continued speaking all while the internal magic tug of war happened. “I know that the Circles and Stars who approved of the practice were picking the way to save our species in the way that was dangerous but would help us best. It did not make it ethical, but the motivations are clear.
“And now those very people who we used, we must help them. They need our weapons, our magic, and support in order to defend themselves. For if those tests were not to help them and us all, then what were they for?” Zeydar asked them all, but he made eye contact with Superior Anthony. He did not see the Superior’s eyes, but Zeydar knew. “This is not a closed meeting. It is not a meeting where we are asked to see if X’s are the same as us.” Zeydar held out his hand to Kony and Shawn. “For they are. We are all humans. Xs are not tested for their proper class. They are not protected as the Project originally intended for them to be. Stars were noted in order for this day, to protect the world from the enemy that could not be defeated normally. Magic was meant to protect humanity, and if we can’t do that much if we will not be able to survive. The X’s are our own. They are our blood and our people.
“We must test them. We must fight for them. We must help them now and support them and unite for once, so that humanity can survive.” Then came the threat. “And if we can not do even that, imagine how they feel now that they have found out about our duplicity. About what we have done. You see the riots, the protests, the anger. You hear the Towers. You see the people. I see them. They see us.” Zeydar looked to the Stars. “Say what you will. I will not hear it. Either we help them, or we watch ourselves all die. You have all read the reports. We have less than a month to get our act together. It is today.”
And then Zeydar stepped away to Estashia who stepped forward. “The Military Mages of the Circle class will assist the X’s, it is my decision.” There was a commotion in the Circles but they would not be able to revoke it. “We will investigate the actions of our people further and ask the Stars to assist us. We ask you to give your mages to the cause.”
“We will accept your Mages.” A chorus of the X leaders answered, as if cued in to this moment. Alan Penn did not accept.
“Stars?” Estashia looked to the Superiors.
“We need to discuss.” Was said by Majorie. Zeydar saw the way that the room stirred. Zeydar had called them out and they still did not bend. The whole world had seen it, had heard it. They were trying to run and they could not be allowed to run.
“How long will that take?” Estashia asked.
“At least a few—“ Majorie stopped talking when Estashia starred at her. Zeydar tugged on the connection.“We can have a decision in an hour. Zeydar.”
Zeydar nodded and left the podium with all the Superiors to their backroom. The moment the door shut, magic was cast and hell exploded. Zeydar watched as Majorie tuned in all the other Superiors around the world through the private Star channel. The channel that Zeydar knew was being monitored by Rayblay and his group.
“What are you thinking?”
“We have to do it?”
“They can’t approve this.”
“They’re our defense!”
“No one will believe him. We can still turn this.”
“We can’t help them.”
“They are X’s.”
Zeydar looked to Elder Anthony. The man was furious.
“The connection can’t harm me.” Zeydar warned him.
“I have not used its full power.” The man threatened turning up the strength, and Zeydar knew that if that was all that changed, he’d easily control it. He needed a bit more time to know his magic, but he could. He acted as if he struggled with the change.
“I reveal everything.” Zeydar hissed through his teeth. “So help me, or I will destroy everything. I am sober now. I can do it.” He could not, but they did not need to know that.
The whole room went silent at Zeydar’s words. The connection disappeared. They were afraid of pushing him too far, when they had no way of controlling him. “I’ve revealed everything. This is all you can do now. Acting any longer will make the world hate you more.”
“We will agree to it.” Superior Anthony breathed out.
“But—“ A complaint began.
“On the condition, that our Mages will stay on the back lines, and that you, Zeydar, prove the worth and keep our secrets.”
Zeydar did not like the sound of it. He was to tell them about Estashia. He did that. He told them about Europa and Endwin. He had given them all the information they asked but nothing they needed. Estashia gave him everything to tell them. He had no obligation to them. “How.”
“I forbid you from say anything else.” The man declared and Zeydar felt the twist of the binding on him. He could live with that. He’d gotten them to act. “You will regret this Zeydar Arcadius.”
“No.” Zeydar shook his head as he walked out. “I don’t think I will.”
Their recess was less than ten minutes long. They announced to the world that they’d give the full Military Mages to join with the X armies. Thus the World army was made, with the sole purpose of protecting all of humanity. All of the X leaders agreed along with Estashia. As Zeydar sat for the formation of the army, he wondered about the threat in his mind.
“I always wondered.” Kony asked. “But if the Superiors are the most powerful mages, why aren’t they acting themselves?”
The thought kicked Zeydar. He almost doubled over in his chair. They were the most powerful. There were hundreds of thousands of Star students. There was a whole force of magic that was not being utilized. Their most powerful would never assist. Zeydar had given them an army of Mages but how much would that change?
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