YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 30 (CHAPTER 177)

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129 Days Until Reverence And the Uncertain End   

The room was filled with screens of people from all over the world. Those who could make it in person sat chattering with their peers. The area was restricted to those invited. For the first time that meant Zeydar. Europa was there as Estashia’s heir and assistant, but no one else was there. Zeydar was alone for the first time since coming back to the CloudCity. He didn’t have Shawn or Kony or May or Phil. He wasn’t sure he was going to be able to make it through the meeting without exploding. 

The noise was already too much.

The cacophony of greetings filled the air as Europa prepared the meeting. Each person had a folder, lamented and sealed, before them. The council members spoke on recent news and gossip. Zeydar wanted silence more by each passing moment. He knew he was going to be lucky to get through the meeting without yelling at someone to shut up.

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YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 29 (CHAPTER 176)

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130 Days Until Adaption And the Uncertain End (part 3) 

Evester looked at the Aralax that was before him, bound up and struggling to break free. It was terrified, or at least Evester assumed it was. He circled it with his Holoblade glowing in his hand. He could see the soft blue glow of the holoblade in the Aralax’s eyes as it screeched at them all.

“You want me to kill it?” He asked Karla, squatting before the beast that had been brought to him.

“Yes, but it is a lesson. Remember?” Karla went over the plan again. “Crass and Rayda will protect us. You will talk to me as you did when you first taught me, and show me the techniques.”

You want me to play with a monster? Evester had asked her when the plan had first been announced. Then she had only smiled and said “essentially.” Even now, Evester thought that the plan was folly. “Karla.” Evester smiled at her. “This will kill me.” That didn’t mean he didn’t want to do it more and more with each passing second.

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YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 28 (CHAPTER 175)

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130 Days Until Adaption And the Uncertain End (part 2) 

Heia stood with Lynx. Heia was dressed in the best clothes that they had. The presentation at hand was one that no one wanted to be present for. It was unfortunate that Heia was the one who was supposed to give it.

“Why do we need to dress her up like a model?” Trace asked kicking her legs to atop the bed where she sat.

“An idol.” Lynx corrected as Kim continued to do Heia’s makeup. “Something to idolize a symbol. They do it in all the great books.”

“I’m just giving a speech for motivation.” They had strong armed Alan Penn into action. The X’s were working around the clock to complete the space program, with factories that had not been used in decades. They had gotten little support from the Circles, but Heia knew that Zeydar and Shawn could not strong from the Circles the way that she had.

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YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 27 (CHAPTER 174)

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130 Days Until Adaption And the Uncertain End (part 1) 

Zeydar stood aside as Kony recited and practiced the magic spells that Zeydar had gotten for him. Zeydar had been called to the Superiors multiple times, and with each time, he had picked up books from the libraries while under direct supervision. Like he had on the bus, Kony absorbed the information like a sponge. He was excellent in his magic control, however his technique was severely lacking. Kony came across as a mage who had only begun, even if he was better off than half of the classical trained mages that Zeydar had seen. Regardless, Kony was far more skilled than he had been months ago.

“Was he never trained?” May stood by Zeydar observing with him.

“What part of, came from the Undercities, don’t you get?” Shawn chastised her. There was a bit of frustration in his voice that made Zeydar wonder if they had, had the conversation before.

“I thought you meant you found him there, not that he was…” May’s words dropped as she continued to stare out. Zeydar knew that she was sheltered, as he had been, however the facts were there for her to read. Kony looked just like his siblings.

“He was classified as an X.” Zeydar spoke nonchalantly before shouting to Kony. “Try that one again. Aim higher.” Kony nodded and did as he was told.

“How?” May asked Zeydar. “We have tests! He should have been here with us.”

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YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 26 (CHAPTER 173)

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131 Days Until Eyes Open And the Uncertain End   

Zeydar looked over the report from the X’s. Heia had already pulled her hand and Xs were beginning to protest and support the cause. Some were protesting the Circles and Stars, while others were flocking in droves to be selected for the factories to work to create the ships. There was movement and it was the movement that would drive them to a greater height in the future. It could only be see as a good thing, although Zeydar did not see all that was happening as a good thing.

“It’s mayhem.” Europa put down the report. “They don’t have the infrastructure to be able to support and manage all those people.” Zeydar wondered if she were already calculating the expenses and requirements to ensure that the whole cause did not fall apart.

“Kim will figure something out.” Phil spoke after he’d finished his copy. “But it will only be temporary. As long as Circles and Stars do not help, it will not be completed.” His eyes traveled over to Zeydar as if telling him that he needed to work harder on breaking the Star establishment.

“The X’s will do something. Alan Penn is not a complete idiot.” Estashia put her pen down. She had written all over her copy and as she handed her notes to Europa she spoke to herself. “However, that does not stop the Circles from having to do their own work.”

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YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 25 (CHAPTER 172)

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132 Days Until Fury And the Uncertain End (Part 2)

Evester looked at the blank canvas that would be the new training facility. The warehouse had been emptied and that meant that there were endless possibilities for the space. Evester knew that he was not the best person to be tasked with the job. He also knew that everyone around him had the audacious goal to make sure that he grew in some way.

“In the perfect world it would have everything already built.” Crass laughed to himself. “We can put up some obstacle boxes and practice targets.”

“Practice targets? We know where the Aralax hideout is, lure some out. Real targets are better.” Karla suggested.

“Girl, you are crazy.” Rayda shoved Karla a little. There was a bit of laughter as Evester starred into the whole room taking it all in. Rayda addressed him next, by placing her hand on his shoulder. “But we are going to need models, Evester.”

“As well as a full-scale battle situation.” Evester turned to face them all. The room was so bare, what could they do in the amount of time that they had? “Do they want us to build fake cities?”

“We are going to have to.” Karla looked to her clipboard. “Most of the battles will not be fought on open ground from the notes. We have an advantage in cities, but so do they.” There was a gravity to her voice that had Evester’s entire mood sinking. They did not have the time or the supplies to create an accurate training ground. Nor did they have the human resources to train.

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YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 24 (CHAPTER 171)

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132 Days Until Fury And the Uncertain End (Part 1)

Heia stood with Lynx and Onyx as Kim worked with Trace, Robee, and Kori on their training. Heia’s mind wandered to the kiss from night before. The short sweet kiss that had been interrupted by the alarm from Lynx’s computer, telling them that the file was about to finish being uploaded to the EverDanger page. Neither Kim nor Heia had said anything after it. Nothing had come from it.

And Heia didn’t care. 

She should have cared. She kept telling herself to care. But she didn’t. There was nothing that she could force herself to feel. There was no sense of loss nor sense of disappointment. There was no excitement or anxious thoughts circling her head. She watched as Kim smiled with the practice, and knew only the facts. Of course Kim was smiling. Of course Kim was happy. Of course Kim looked perfect as always. 

Something was wrong with Heia, but she didn’t know what it was. 

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YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 23 (CHAPTER 170)

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134 Days Until Normality And the Uncertain End (part 2)  

Zeydar sat with Heia’s family feeling more than awkward as Shawn spoke for the both of them. Layla and Andre were anxious regarding siblings. Seemingly, however, Kony was carefree. He did not flinch when Layla slammed her hands down on the table.

“Karla staid where?” Layla snapped. Kony had informed her them that Karla was with Evester in the middle of the Aralax lands. Zeydar was unsurprised that she had exploded in fear, but he was shocked that Kony reacted as if she had whispered the words.

“Crass is good. He won’t let anyone hurt her.” Kony shook his head. “Plus she’s real smart with science.”

“She’s staying with someone she just met and he’s a man.” Andre placed his hand on Layla’s shoulder trying to get her to relax, and speaking to Kony as if he should understand. Zeydar watched as Kony shrugged off the words like they were small water droplets.

“I hardly think that Crass is worth that fear.” Shawn rolled his eyes. “He sees her as a little sister, nothing more.”

“How can you  know that?” Layla hissed.

“Rayda is up there too.” Kony added.

“And that’s supposed to make me feel better? Rayda?” Layla rolled her eyes. Zeydar did not blame her for being protective. The others had gone together but Karla had staid on her own. Comparatively, the others were in a “safer” situation.

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YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 22 (CHAPTER 169)

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134 Days Until Normality And the Uncertain End (part 1)  

Heia sat in the room listening to the sleeping sounds of those around her. Peaceful, she thought, this is why Evester could not sleep alone. It was comforting. However, with less voices the room felt more vast. She missed the bus and the confined spaces that she’d grown used to with them all. She missed being so close, so safe, despite how much danger they were in. One did not miss something until it was gone, and now it hit her as it had when she had lost her first home.

All she could think of was the Catastrophe and the Night of Darkness. She was there again, fearful and saddened. She worried of what was to come and what was to be. She was afraid of making the wrong move and dooming everyone. She was just a city girl whose life was not meant to mean anything. She’d always wanted power to change things, and now that she had it…

“You okay?” Kim asked her, reaching to her under the blankets and resting her chin on Heia’s shoulder. As Kim wrapped her arms around Heia’s body, Heia felt her worries slip away.

“I’m doing my best.” The video posted tomorrow and they had gotten no response from the X Prime Minister. If things went the way they had planned, it would be a mess. Heia did not want a mess, she wanted things to be easy and for people to get their heads out of their asses.

“Everything is going to be okay.” Kim rubbed circles with her fingers against Heia’s side.

“So says you.” Heia hugged Kim.

“So says me.” Kim propped herself up to look down at Heia in the moonlight. Their eyes met. “What worries you?”

“That we put the video out and no one responds.” Heia admitted part of the truth.

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YP – B4:Entr’acte – CHAPTER 21 (CHAPTER 168)

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135 Days Until Boredom And the Uncertain End (part 3)  

Evester looked over the plans that Uly had given him: a pamphlet of suggestions on how to find passions outside of trying to risk his life. Martial arts? Too connected to survival. Uly would not allow it. Math and Sciences? Too connected to survival. Gaming, was, too, adrenaline inducing. Thus the pamphlet had a few things: politics — which he’d never do — or arts, which he’d never tried.

It was not that Evester hated the arts. Rather, he knew how to appreciate them as Estashia’s son. The issue was that he never could, or tried to, do arts.  He had never cared to. Leave it to the more artistically inclined. Not him. Never him. There were options in there that Uly suggested because he knew they could be done alone: Music, Sculpting and Painting, Writing. 

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