30 Days Until Carnage And the Uncertain End (part 6)
Zeydar was uncertain of what to make of what was before him. It was like a mist or miasma, shadows that made the sun’s light more of a reflection than light. It was milky, thick, looming. Zeydar had a feeling that if he touched it, it would condense on his body and drip off of his fingers like crystals. It was already difficult to breathe, and further difficult to think.
“It looks as if the Aralax have begun terraforming.” Maverin warned him. “If my predictions are correct, there will be new species in there that are specific for them.”
“Does this have to do with why we can’t live here?”
“No. I think that the breaking planet, helped establish the best conditions for their kind, and like us, they are transporting the food and animals of their world that they can consume, until they can make our planet fully their own. Think of this as a new atmosphere for them, something between magic and natural.”
“They need our own atmosphere weakened before this one can take over?”
“Yes.” Maverin answered.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Maverin asked.
“I’ll reconnect to the main channel when I’m out.”
“The Queen will be identified by her size.”
“If I can kill her the fighting will stop?”
“Until another can take over.”
“I don’t think I can destroy the hive.” He was too tired.
“You don’t need to. Just the Queen. Kill her and we will get the time we need.”
Twenty-five days, that was all they needed to get everyone into space. “Did the project predict this?”
“No, but I did.” Maverin laughed. “Good luck.”
“Thanks.” Zeydar looked back to the camera on the drone and then nodded, walking in without it. He heard his headset buzz, and turned it off so the noise did no distract him. Senses alive, Zeydar felt as if the whole of the mists were alive and watching him. The liquid consolidated on his body, sticking to him, making movement difficult, until his body temperature dropped to match the air and it began to slip off of him like gemstones following each step.
Sending out his mapping magic, he found all the Aralax surrounding him. He could not fight his way in and out. He did not have the energy for it. His lips were dry and his throat parched. For a moment all he wanted was sleep and in the next he wanted the dreams. His magic screamed at him, and with a wave of his hand, he filtered the air around him.
Whiteshade was mixed into the mist.
He should have understood that there was a chance for it. It was not the normal whiteshade that the Stars manufactured but something else. Zeydar thought to the experiments and the Star research. How long had the Aralax been on the planet? Their first attack had seemed to come out of nowhere, but if they had been bidding their time on the planet for decades… The whiteshade in the mists was not what they used on Zeydar, it was different, and perhaps not even the full whiteshade that he knew.
His mind craved the drug more then, than it had in his life. He tapped at the his thigh and thought of Evester’s face. He did not need it. he did not. Turning his magic on his own body, Zeydar cleared his body of the drug before it could impact him, neutralizing and expelling it from him with much difficulty, but the moment he had he felt lighter again.
The Stars must have used their research with the Aralax and additional medicinal and magical plants and ingredients to manufacture the drug that they had made. It also explained why it was so difficult for them to make it suitable for human consumption, after all it came from another lifeform that was deadly to humans.
Disgusted by the Superiors more than before, Zeydar swore to eliminate all resources and records of the drug. Not only would they not be able to make it without the Aralax, but Zeydar wanted to make sure that he was never tempted to it again. He also knew that he would not be able to do it. He wanted it. Not this mist that burned his lungs in a painful way, but the Dreams that soothed him.
He’d have to have Kony, Shawn, Phil, May and Majorie do it.
Zeydar took a step forward and with it, he teleported ahead past the Aralax defense. He did so again, and again until he made his way to the underground where the air was as thick as slime. Once again he mapped the world around him, and made his way to the Queen, searching for her by tracking the guards around her and her commanders. Zeydar was a master of the web, and although he was not using an Aralax as a direct connection into their hive mind, he had already understood. He could enter and exit freely, as a member of their species, without much notice — or at least he hoped.
When he found her, he found an Aralax the size of a airship, unable to move. She was breathing out the white shade in thick white pools. Had the Superiors found a queen? Or perhaps had they reverse engineered it from the mist alone? Was the whiteshade in the bodies of all the Aralax? Was it what caused their blood to burn?
Shaking the thoughts away, Zeydar thought only of murder. He stepped out from the shadows into the hall. The white mist hit his barrier and turned to crystals all at once, dropping with light sounds of shattering jewels. The attendant Aralax that buzzed about the room, turned to him and froze. As Maverin predicted, when they attacked, they were weak. Workers were able to defend, but it was not their primary task. He sent out air magic cutting their bodies to pieces. He walked through the mists, the shattering and fracturing of the mist as it tried to solidify and stop him, was like glass sparkling to the ground and snapping as his feet crushed the remnants. He placed his hand on the Queen’s body.
“I apologize, but we have to survive,” Zeydar said to her.
“Then stop fighting us.”
Zeydar grimaced. He knew that the creatures could understand him, but he had not thought they would be so obstinate. Looking into the creature’s eyes, Zeydar felt a bit of remorse for all he saw within her eyes was pride. As the Queen she wanted nothing else but to have their species survive. He doubted that she thought she was doing anything wrong, and honestly Zeydar agreed. It was not as if the Aralax knew that the humans were going to leave. She could not, however, be left alive. He could not allow the Aralax to continue to attack.
With a sigh, Zeydar lit the room in white light, and sent the bright energy into the body of the Queen who shrieked and melted. Teleporting away, Zeydar choked on the smell. He watched as her body collapsed on itself and felt the screeches and dying wails as she melted completely, turned to ash, and disappeared into the white smoke. There was the longest moment of absolute desolation before the Aralax in the room began to act haphazardly.
They attacked and he teleported away. Connecting to the hive mind, he saw a new super power, weaker than before — in terms of control. The Kings were acting in more control, acting with one prerogative: protect the new Queen.
Zeydar spun out what little remained of his magic, and searched for the new Queen. He arrived at the hive’s birthing comb to find the Queen crawling out of another Aralax’s body. Grabbing it before another Aralax could, Zeydar sent all his thoughts into the impressionable mind. What he found, instead of a mind to talk to, was a control much like the tablet. While the Queen was there, her voice was small.
Protect me. Protect me.
The single order was all she could think of, but Zeydar knew he could use it. She linked him to all the other Aralax and as long as he held her, he knew he’d be able to do what needed to be done.
“Peace. Protect. Retreat.” He controlled the Queen. The Kings, listened and ordered a complete stop of forces that were headed to the cities again. They also knew he was an intruder. The Kings retaliated with thoughts of death towards him but Zeydar continued to give the order. “Peace. Protect. Retreat.”
He gave it over and over, until the Queen began to repeat it and the Kings shuddered. All the Aralax tried to get him off the Queen. He held her tight certain that the Kings were focused on him. He knew that his image was deeply ingrained on their shared conscious. He was a threat to their whole species.
“Just a bit longer.” Zeydar told himself as he killed the worker Aralax next to himself. His magic drained and was not collecting at all, the way it used to. He had exhausted himself for the first time ever. The whole hive raced towards Zeydar.
“If you want to kill me. Fine.” Zeydar told them all. “But we are leaving. The planet will be yours. Hunt me and I will kill your new Queen. I will kill your whole species.”
The Queen shuddered in his arms. She repeated the order. “Peace. Protect. Retreat.”
“Do not attack us and we will not attack you. We are leaving.” Zeydar said again.
“Peace. Protect. Retreat.” The Queen urged them all and confirmed with Zeydar.
He was not sure how long her impressionable mind would hold out with his order, but he did not have the magic to link to her permanently. If Maverin were correct, with a Queen this young, the armies would not be able to grow their numbers. They would not be able to keep up with their own destruction, should they choose to fight.
Threaten their annihilation and then leave.
Zeydar let the Queen go and teleported away, using what little remained of his power to launch himself home. The last thing he smelled before he passed out was the scent of Evester’s cologne.