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Cause [1.3.1]

Lola Zeller began to look around her room, wondering what objects would have been subject to her psychic power, becoming spirit links. She frantically checked through all of her materials and possessions before stopping and turning to her wardrobe. It was going to be clothes, wasn’t it? An outfit she really loved. As she made a move to open her wardrobe, she received a message.

 

Arm yourself before you go.

…uh, what?

There’s a handgun in your sister’s room, in her top drawer.

 

Lola stared at the message, and opened her bedroom door cautiously. Lianne was still downstairs; Lola made her move across the landing and slipped into her sister’s room. Feeling increasingly more daring, she opened the top drawer of Lianne’s bedside table.

She was horrified to find that Cassie was right, and there was handgun in there. What the hell was this for, and how did Lianne get hold of it?

Gingerly, Lola picked up the gun, taking the seven bullets that were with it, and pocketed it. As her surprise waned, she returned to her room and opened her wardrobe. Inside, she located her short, frilly party dress – a regular piece that she wore when she wanted to cheer herself up – and took it out. She closed her eyes and tried to focus her telepathic powers on the dress, and to her surprise, felt a strange power overcome her. There was a brief flash, and she vanished.

The next thing she knew, she was thrown, hard, onto a stony floor. It felt dark and damp, and she landed quite painfully. She got to her knees, framed in a bright light, and looked up to see a strange grey-skinned figure, clad in deep purple armour and armed with a sword at his side, reach his hand out to her.

“My name is Mizar. You’re Lola, yes?”

“Yes.” Lola replied, taking his hand and getting unsteadily to her feet. “Am I the first?”

“Indeed you are.” Mizar said. “These are my friends, and you can trust them. We’ll wait until the others arrive before we brief you further.”

Lola nodded, feeling like she was in a waking dream. “So… I’m… where, now?”

“Void.” Fafnir replied. “Honestly, we’ll explain everything! We just don’t want to do it three times, so we’ll wait for your friends.”

“…Right. OK.” Lola said. She stared deep into the lights of the gate, wondering who else would be joining her soon.

Eight minutes remaining.

 




 

Cassie, who had received several visions to aid her friends, like Lola and Joseph, had not received any clue as to what her spirit link might be. She dashed upstairs, leaving her brother Andrew confused as he finished up the breakfast he was making. “Cassie?”

Cassie thundered past her parents’ room, not bothering if they were disturbed, and began to search through her things. She didn’t know what it could be; something of emotional significance, perhaps? Or something relating to her power.

It was then that she remembered her predictions notebook. As a young child, whenever she had received a strange vision, she had taken to noting them down in a notebook. It was long-abandoned, but it would still be somewhere in her room.

“Under the bed.” she whispered to herself. She wriggled under the bed and began to pull some large boxes out. Lifting the lid from one of them, she spotted the notebook – pink and girly – and pulled it out. She closed her eyes and focused… but nothing happened. It wasn’t one of her spirit links.

“Blast!” she cursed, tossing the notebook aside. Her eyes scanned the room desperately, and she made her way over to her dresser. There, she saw a necklace. It was a simple necklace, silver, with a ‘C’ charm on it to mark it out as hers; it had also been her 15th birthday present from Zack Lyons.

She reached out to it, held it tightly in her right hand, and began to focus on it. This time, she felt a surge of power. There was a brief flash, and she vanished.

Cassie was thrown unceremoniously to the ground several seconds later. Lola gasped in surprise as the blond girl got to her feet. “…Cassie?”

“Yes!” Cassie exclaimed. “Lola!”

“Yes, yes, it’s all very nice.” Mizar said. “Time for catchups later; there’s still one more to come, I hope. I believe Vasa said we were getting 3, and Zion were getting 3.”

“That sounds about right.” Cassie replied. “Anyway, I just need to send a message to someone… um, how do I-”

“Borrow my wrist phone,” muttered Rana, handing it to Cassie. She nodded, and began to type a message out to Joseph.

Seven minutes remaining.

 




 

Yasen descended the ladder into the palace’s catacombs, following Raziel’s trail. She heard a strange whirring, and saw the light further ahead. With near-silent footsteps, moving slowly to ensure that her armour did not create any noise, she advanced towards Raziel, whispering as she did.

“Theft. Gross disregard of the law. Trespassing. Defiance of Officials.”

Yasen arrived at the room where the gate was open; Raziel was standing away from the entrance, facing the gate as it crackled with light and energy, a large tome on the floor by his side. For a moment, everything was strangely quiet, with the throb of the gate the only sound. Yasen remembered everything Raziel had done in that instant, and she remembered what she had promised.

She would only have one shot.

Hefting her spear and holding it tightly in both hands, she stepped back a short bit, aimed for Raziel’s back, and charged.

The spear’s blade pierced Raziel’s back breastplate, and there was a sickening squelch of flesh being gashed as the spear burst through the front of Raziel’s chest. He gave a single gasp, his throat filling with blood as his lungs were punctured, and stood perfectly still. Yasen let go of the spear and walked slowly around Raziel to stand in front of him, framed in the bright light behind the gate.

Raziel stared in horror, and collapsed onto one knee. Two knees. Then his hands. He made a choking sound, unable to speak properly, and looked back at Yasen, but there was no pity in her eyes.

“I knew you were continuing to do your plan.” Yasen said with a hint of regret. “I wanted to believe that you might have changed and grown up, that you’d accept the sovereignty of our King, but no. You’re nothing but a lawbreaker who has been living on borrowed time; you should have been imprisoned long ago for your misdeeds. This misdeed, though… this goes beyond anything we have seen before. Treason is an absolutely unforgivable crime. So what were you planning to do? Let’s take a look at this book here.”

She scanned the pages of the book whilst Raziel shook and shuddered, blood pooling on the floor below his ruptured chest.

“…Well, well… bringing in help from within the universe to battle the Kings. Very clever, Raziel… I’m afraid I must stop your project short, though. Your warriors will never make it to Zion, and the King will not be challenged. This button here turns the gate off, yes?”

Raziel made a gasping noise and choked up some blood. Yasen looked at him with a disdainful glance. “Pardon?”

“I… said…” Raziel gasped, lifting his head slowly to look at Yasen. “You… really… love the… sound of… your own voice… don’t… y-you?”

Yasen’s eyes flashed with vengeance. “…I wanted to spare you. Three years ago we clashed, and I marked you out as my enemy. But you were growing up… clearly it wasn’t enough. You don’t see the big picture, Raziel. You don’t understand how important our Kings are! To fight them is to go back on everything that is good and right in our dimension!”

She sighed and looked at him with something akin to both pity and revulsion. “…You know what? I have a better idea. Why turn the gate off and leave your allies back in the universe… when I can bring them here, take them out into the Reaches, and have them help the Officials instead? That way, none of your friends can come back here and finish what you started after I leave.”

There was a clanging from outside the room, further out into the dark hallways, that sounded like a heavily armoured figure descending a small ladder. Yasen cursed, knowing who it was, and lifted up Raziel’s body. She carried him to a worn stone pillar and laid him behind it, hidden in the darkness, jabbing the blade of the spear into the flagstones and leaving him trapped there, too weak to push himself free. “Goodbye, Raziel.” she said.

“Gobuklesf…” came the reply. Yasen turned to him, and he repeated it. “Go… f-fuck… your… self…”

Yasen did not dignify this with a response, and instead busied herself with moving the book on top of the puddle of blood to hide it from her superior.

It was seconds later that Kushel walked in, the big, serious punishment officer of the King’s Officials. “Yasen. Where is Raziel?”

“Ah, Kushel. I, uh… arrested him, as is proper procedure, and, he, uh… went… back to the palace with Levan. Who was here. Just before.”

“I see. What are you doing here, then?” he asked.

“Waiting for some non-Zionids to arrive through this strange portal. I had an idea, you see.”

“Hm?” Kushel asked.

“Why not take advantage of the fact that we’re being supplied with warriors who want to help us? We can send them into the Reaches to get the Universe Seed rather than wasting valuable resources; this way, only we would have to go, and no other Officials would be put into unnecessary danger.”

“I see.”

“This way they’re not a danger to us, either.” Yasen said. “Out in the Reaches, they wouldn’t even be able to get back to the Kings, let alone do battle with them. We’d be eliminating every aspect of Raziel’s plan.”

“And… how are we going to do this?” Kushel asked. “We arrested Raziel. His allies, whoever they are, will not be terribly interested in working with us.”

“Simple.” Yasen replied, grinning. “From now on, you will go by Raziel.”

There was a flash, and a young man fell through the gate. Yasen and Kushel nodded at one another, and they approached the figure as he clambered to his feet.

Six minutes remaining.

Cause [1.2.14]
Cause [1.3.2]

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