29 Days Until Light And the Uncertain End
Evester held Zeydar in his arms, wanting to squeeze him but stuck cradling him in fear of breaking him. The man’s head rested on his shoulder, and his breathing was shallow. Kony held Zeydar’s hand feeding Zeydar with magic. Zeydar’s eyes did not move. His chest did not rise. He was almost dead, but not dead, in a stasis, and when Kony had gotten to them, he’d screamed and started crying.
Between Kony’s shouts for help, and Majorie’s movements protecting the tablet, Evester was able to understand that Zeydar had little to no magic left in his body. As May said, it was not a death sentence but Zeydar had nearly burned himself from the inside out. He’d used more magic than should have been possible, and he had purged his body of whiteshade too many times in the last twenty days. Zeydar was already operating in a state of unease, but he had pushed it to the absolute limit.
Evester had only noticed the injuries that lined Zeydar’s body from his arms to his back where the Aralax had burned him and clawed at him. They were injuries he had not had before he’d disappeared.
“I never thought I’d see this again.” Heia sighed, handing Kony a bottle of water.
“What did he do?” Kim asked Maverin who had made his way from the command center at the top of the Tower, down to them.
“Killed the Queen.” Maverin answered, standing over Evester and Zeydar, with narrowed eyes.
“The Queen?” Evester tried to find remorse in his father’s eyes. There was none. The man did not care that Zeydar had almost died.
“My predictions told me that the only way we could survive this attack was if we took something from them that would make them retreat. Of course, if I’m correct, the next queen will be fully mature in twenty days time. Which is why that was my deadline for us getting to space.” Maverin said to Uly.
“You killed the Queen?” Uly repeated. “What if he hadn’t been able to kill her?”
“All my research pointed to the fact that he would be able to. The issue was that I had no idea where she was.” Maverin sighed.
Evester had known that his father had researched the Aralax in order to find the best way to kill them, but he had not expected that his father would want to kill their leader. “Won’t they retaliate?”
“No. If Zeydar told the Queen the correct message, they will not until she is old enough.”
“If he what?” Heia repeated.
“After Zeydar confirmed that he was able to communicate with them, I began tests. If he was able to use them as I supposed, then he will have told the Queen that he wants peace, that she needs to be protected, and that their forces should retreat.”
“Peace after killing their Queen?”
“Of course no one would want peace after killing a Queen, but without her being mature enough to create more soldiers they will have to hold back. If Zeydar made them hate him, they will also know that they are not safe. They will have to try to destroy him, and focus solely on that, but they also know that with what they had tonight, that was not enough. Thus, they will need more. A new Queen can’t do that until she is mature. They will retaliate, but not until she can make more of their kind. Until then we are safe.”
“And by then we will be in space.” Uly nodded. “If this works, then I can get more people into space. We can triple our evacuations and, get everyone up into space early.”
“But. The last ship will not be done.” Maverin reminded him.
“We will have to move people from the ships they are on, to the final ship. We can do that.”
Maverin nodded. Evester rested his head on Zeydar as Zeydar snuggled closer.
“That’s the best I can do.” Kony told Evester. “He’s not as empty as before, but he needs rest and I doubt that I’ll be able to do much more. We should get a healer mage. The issue is that all the Superiors are drained and won’t be good for a few days, and the only ones capable of healing him are…”
“Superiors.” Evester nodded. “We’ll have to make due. How long will it take for you to recover Kony?”
“Not too long.”
“We can try to put our healing focus on one Superior.” Majorie offered. “And then that Superior can help as we heal the others.”
“How long will that take?”
“At least a day.” Majorie answered.
“We’ll get on it then.” Kony agreed, struggling to stand.
“We need to get back to the Tower with him.” Uly said.
“The plane is here to take us up.” Maverin turned to walk away.
Evester looked to the sun on the horizon. The sun peaked over, greeting them for the new day. With Kim and Uly’s help, Evester stood up and headed towards the plane Maverin had brought down from the Cloudcity. As Evester walked with Zeydar on his back, he saw the way that people stared at Zeydar, with awe and adoration. They knew that he had saved all their lives. He’d saved many more. In a few hours more cities would be evacuated, but all those from their cities knew that he had saved them. The other Towers might have collapsed but they had survived. Due to his efforts they’d have twenty nights without attacks, not that they knew that yet. Those who’d heard their conversation would spread the rumor and Evester wanted them to tell the world. He needed all of humanity to know what Zeydar had done to save them.
“If only he could see this.” Heia whispered to Evester as he walked.
“He’d say he doesn’t deserve it.” Evester held Zeydar tighter. The reason they had survived the night was Zeydar.
“We will make sure this is worth it.” Heia told him. Evester nodded. Zeydar would save them, but he and Heia would make sure his efforts were not wasted. Their work might not fully begin until they got to the new world, but Evester was ready to face it. He got Zeydar into the plane, laying down with Zeydar and holding him close so that Zeydar could hear his heart beat.
“I love you.” He whispered, and he felt Zeydar latch on to him, breathing easy.