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56 Days Until Orders And the Uncertain End (pt 3)
It turned out that practical experience was better for people. Just as Evester suspected, from his won experience, most of those who had joined him forty-eight hours prior, were better skilled than they had been before. With each Aralax that they killed, the better they got at killing more Aralax.
Evester collapsed on the bed. It was early in the night or early in the morning. He was not sure what time and he did not want to look at his watch. They were at the right city, to assist for the next major battle he had to face. In a few hours he’d have to get up, assist with last minute preparations and fight training, before he went off to get pretty and hooked up for the cameras. The idea of having to shave, and do his hair made him want to groan. His image was important but was it that important? He knew that there would be no way to erase the dark circles under his eyes, so perhaps he could get away with not being as done up, and a bit of stubble?
He hoped that the others were not having nearly the same amount of sleepless nights. He also hoped that they were. He wanted to see them as tired as he was. As he closed his eyes, he could picture Zeydar’s face. Perhaps it was the spite that had grown in the time that he had been forced to work on his own that made him wish ill on them. He was not sure. Not anymore. He was tired.
They had gotten to twelve cities to assist, and evacuate. They’d done more than planned and he knew that it would only be beneficial in the long run, but it had taken more energy. They had avoided every minor skirmish that they could and used the others as a training opportunity. It had been, far from exciting and more energy draining from anything.
“Don’t sleep.” Karla dug her elbow into his back. “We need to talk.”
“Just let me die.” Evester groaned into the pillow.
“Don’t be dramatic.” Rayda disagreed.
Huffing, Evester sat up. “Fine. What?”
“The place is fortified.” Rayda said handing him a map. “We are going to need to figure out the best places to be stationed.”
“You and Crass can do that tomorrow, while Karla and I do training.”
Rayda nodded. “Evester. You know that we don’t need to push ourselves this much.”
“Yes, we do.”
“Are you trying to make up for lost time?” Karla asked him. He had not wanted to admit it, but he was. They had taken time, too much time, and he realized now with each passing day that all of their lack of movement was a detriment in the present. If he could smack his past self into moving faster, he would have. He’d wasted so much time.
“In five days we will be back in the city and from that point on, people will criticize us.”
“You’ve had that before.” Rayda reminded him. “What is this about? Why are you acting so…”
“Reckless?” Evester asked, looking up to the ceiling. “I’m worried that we’ll miss someone.”
“We won’t.” Rayda could not be confident about that answer but Evester let her say it. They all would have felt terrible if they left someone behind. Evester knew that. It was why they were being so thorough with the other evacuation teams and why Evester was working hard to get them to listen and trust him. He needed the whole of the world to believe that moving to the big cities was for the best, even when they were bigger targets for the Aralax.
“And even if we do. No one will blame you.” Karla told him. “You got us all together. You got the world moving. You found your father and helped find our next home. Evester…”
Evester had never intended to do all of it. And he knew that. It was why the pressure of them relying on him was so great. Evester was used to being watched and seen, but having to make the decisions of the whole world? That had never been on him. It was on his sister, his brother, his mother. He was supposed to be a daredevil and yet he was trying his hardest to use the spark that Heia gave him and the courage that Zeydar showed him. He had never fully intended to save the world.
Yet, he was saving the world and he knew that it was his full responsibility.
The weight of it settled with him then. Evester had never fully accepted that it was his job to save the world. Not when he got Heia. Not when he snuck in to get Zeydar. Not when he got his father. He had been acting as if it were a scavenger hunt and a daring exercise. His father had trained him to act mindlessly through it, and now Evester’s mind had returned.
Now that he no longer needed the adrenaline rush to survive, Evester could fully comprehend the position that he had placed himself in. He didn’t want to fail them all.
“Five days and then the team will be reunited.” Crass reminded him. “Its never been you on your own. It’s never us on our own. EverDanger is a team. Remember?” Evester stared at him. “And as a team, we bear the responsibility equally. We are equals in EverDanger, and if we mess up it will not just be you. It will be all of us.”
Evester knew they were all stressed, and he could picture Uly’s face already. Uly had probably lost weight, looked a mess, and had little sleep. Heia too, she had to be worse for wear. They were all trying their hardest. He just wished he’d acted faster, so that they had more time.
“When we are reunited.” Crass moved across the room and sat next to Evester. “I know you’ll feel stronger than ever.”
Evester looked to Crass who then hugged Evester. Evester had never been hugged by Crass before, but as Evester continued to be hugged, he realized he needed it. He had slept in the same room as them all for years. He was longing for the full connection of them all. His family. He missed them and it, too, hit him like a train.
“Let’s sleep before Evester cries himself into oblivion.” Rayda suggested as she turned off the light. “We will talk more when we’re rested.”
Evester heard blankets being thrown over the beds, as they were pushed together. Evester laid next to Crass and Rayda as Karla curled up next to Rayda and within minutes Evester was out cold.
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