55 Days Until Life And the Uncertain End (pt 4)
Heia sat in the circle with the other X circles. Kim was off with the Mages, trying to get them to give her all the codes so she could activate and give orders to their comrades. Heia suspected there were other reasons for it, but she did not press. The Circles were off showing Robee, Trace, and Kori some of the cool acts and lessons that they’d had from the Circles. Heia alone sat with the X’s.
“You look miserable.” A soldier named Nicki said.
“I am.” Heia laughed, rubbing at her eyes. “I’m exhausted.”
“You leave in five days, right?”
“Does everyone know?” There had been no official statement that they had given.
“We know that the five days from now is your last battle with us.”
“Four.” Heia did not want to picture what that war would look like after that point. Thinking of the fight in four days was already a fear for her. They were not nearly prepared enough for it.
“You going back to one of those big cities?”
“Hopefully it doesn’t fall again.” A guy laughed and the others laughed with him. Heia thought back to Valaria falling and how much Zeydar had to do to keep it from completely collapsing. She thought of Arcadia falling and how that had shaken the world, as Zeydar had been the only one to survive. There was no way that Ovaria would fall, but hearing the nihilistic joke made Heia’s skin crawl.
“Don’t say that.” Heia chastised them. “There were millions lost in the Tower collapses.”
“Do you want to go?” A woman named Yuna asked her.
“Not particularly.” Accepted the changed in conversation.
“They why are you?” The joking guy, Todd, asked.
“Because it was the plan. Go back to the city and work from there.” Heia still was not sure what they were supposed to do. The real fight was on the ground and she knew that Evester and his family knew it. Even then, she was not needed. She should have remained to fight.
“What can you do from up in a tower that you can’t do on the ground?”
“Stuff with the Stars.” Heia forced out the words, making them as nonchalant as she could, although she agreed. “I will get to see my family again.”
“You know Shawn right?” A quiet soldier asked her. He was one of the first few to agree working with the Mages and Circles for real.
“We were in the same unit, before…”
“Before he ran away?” Heia nodded. She knew that these people knew of her relationship with him from the story she told the world. He had raced to find her, and while some might have thought that romantic, Heia knew that it was because they were family above all else. She thought of his family, who had been some of the first up into space at Uly’s behest.
“Did you know that the Unwanted Guests were told where to go?” When he said the words, Heia snapped her head up to him. Everyone looked at him. He was looking down at the sticks in his hands. “Before they were exposed… Part of the military and government worked hand in hand with them.”
And thus, by working with the Unwanted Guests, they worked with the Circles and the Stars. They had supported those who had led X’s to the testing with the Stars and Circles? For a moment Heia was stunned, until a cool wash of rationality raced through her. She laughed out a single time.
“Of course they did.” She hissed under her breath.
“Our unit was one of the units that was told to let them through. We were told not to question it and to turn the other way.” The man continued.
“Shawn didn’t do so?”
“No. He did.” The man looked up. “Until he no longer could. They were going to transfer him to that city that you raided.”
“Why?” Heia gasped.
“Because they held your family under their thumb.” He answered. “That is, until you disappeared. We thought you had died because they lost track of you.”
It had to be around the same time when they had moved their home and all the orphans because they had thought they were being watched by Unwanted Guests. It turned out that they were being watched by the military.
“They had that for all of us. If we didn’t turn away, then they’d hurt those that we cared for. Only those with something to lose could be trusted with the knowledge.” He sighed out. “But then you destroyed that option for Shawn, to a large degree. They still had his family, be if you could disappear then there was a chance they could too. The threat became for us never to speak of it.”
“Why are you telling us now?” Nicki asked. “Don’t they have your family under control?”
“No. The government can not control them the same way. They aren’t the ones with the power…” He looked into Heia’s eyes. “You and EverDanger are. Uly can decide where we go. Kim controls politics. You already are forcing them to act in a way that they would not usually. The world leaders do not hold the power.”
Heia met his gaze and immediately understood what he was telling her.
“You have to go back, because Alan Penn is trying, as we speak, to figure out how to control you. He doesn’t have the answer yet, but a person who has lost power is dangerous.”
She nodded slowly. “I think that’s why we all agreed to go back, because…” Because Evester had suspected it would happen. They could only go back when they had all the power and now that they had it, they needed to consolidate and protect each other. “In four days we will fight and show the world what our tactics can do at a larger scale.”
“And then you’ll disappear.” He nodded at her.
“No. I’ll walk away and everyone will see it happen.” She stared at him and let herself smile at them all. She’d never disappear from them again.