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Cause [1.4.5]

After a long while practising with spears, to which Serafina and Zack applied themselves well, the group had taken a quick break, sitting calmly on the ever-moving island of stability. Kushel glanced around at the swirling colours, then checked his wrist phone.

“It’s hard to tell in the Reaches, but I believe now would be a good time for us to rest.” he said.

“In that case, perhaps we should do shifts?” Zack suggested. “You know, just in case any lost ones turn up.”

“That’s not a bad idea. Do you two want to stay up, then? We’ll rest for a while first, since we’ve been up for a hell of a long time.” Yasen said.

“Sounds good.” Zack said.

“Yeah, I suppose it’s still early morning for us, Zack.” Serafina said. Zack nodded in agreement.

“We’ll rest, then. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves. These helmets can be adjusted, like so,” he said, moving two parts of the helmet over his ears. “To cancel out most noise.”

“For sleeping in rough circumstances.” Yasen explained, doing the same with her helmet. “Wake us up in a few hours, or if you see anything suspicious.”

Zack and Serafina nodded, and the Officials lay down to rest. It took all of ten minutes for them to be resting softly, lying down on one slope of the island. Zack walked away and seated himself on the other side of the island. After a moment or two, Serafina sat beside him.

“Are you alright?”

“Not really.” Zack said, staring into the colours. “…I don’t like this at all.”

“What do you mean?” Serafina asked in confusion.

“Well…” Zack replied, lowering his voice and glancing backwards at the sleeping Officials. “What if all this is just another vision? Another long odyssey that isn’t real?”

“I honestly think we would’ve realised by now, if it was a vision. Come on, it’s a bit strange, but we have to do our bit for Raziel and his friends.” Serafina said.

“What do you think of those two?” Zack asked, shifting his sitting position so he was facing Serafina. He stared into the sunglasses, wondering briefly what colour her eyes were.

“I’m inclined to trust them for now. That’s not my concern, really. I just… I’m just wondering what happened to Joseph.”

“I almost forgot about that. Do you think he made it alright?” Zack said. “Perhaps he got here too late, and he was accosted by those people Raziel said wanted to stop his plan.”

“That’d be terrible!” exclaimed Serafina. “Thanks for worrying me!”

“We could just message him.” Zack suggested.

“Oh yes, that reminds me – Cassie told me to tell you something.” Serafina said, tapping away on her wrist phone.

“Uh, OK?”

“She says that it’s not just me – everyone’s psychic powers have been supercharged by being outside the universe! Even you!” Serafina said with a grin. Zack tilted his head.

“Is that so?” he murmured. “Normally I can only lift light objects, and only when they’re very close to me. I wonder if I can control it better now?”

He raised a hand and pointed it at the four backpacks lying in the centre of the island. Two were acting as makeshift pillows for the Zionids, but the other two were doing nothing. Zack focussed his power and felt a great force around him. With apparent ease, he lifted one of the backpacks into the air, laughing out loud with exhilaration. He extended his reach, lifting the backpack well over twenty metres into the air – much further than he had ever been able to lift something before.

The strain began to weigh on him, and he brought the backpack down to the island again, breathing in and out. “Whew, that still takes it outta me. But that was incredible!”

He turned to Serafina and raised his hand, but felt nothing. “Still can’t move living things, annoyingly. I suppose psychic powers have their limits.”

“Even so, Cassie always said your power was the coolest!” Serafina said. “Now I see why!”

“She said that?” Zack asked. “I always thought hers was the best.”

Serafina giggled. “That sounds about right. But yeah, I’m not kidding. She thinks telekinesis is super cool!”

“Maybe I should talk to her.” Zack said.

“I think you definitely should. Hell, why don’t we all get on the group chat?”

“That sounds like a plan.” Zack replied with a smile.

 

Group Chat [Snapple Bottom Jeans] [Zack , Lola , Joseph , Cassie , Geoffrey , Serafina ]

ZL So, guys… did we all make it OK?

ZL I’m here with Fin, somewhere in the Reaches with Raziel. What about everyone else?

JC i’m on Zion with Raziel’s friend Vasa… are you alright, Zack and Fin?

Course I am!! Why wouldn’t we be alright? SG

LZ I’m with Mizar. We’re coming to get you, Zack.

ZL Oh, are we going to meet up?

JC i don’t think that’s quite how it’s working.

LZ Zack, the Zionid you’re with right now… isn’t Raziel.

 

Zack and Serafina looked up from their respective wrist phones at one another, then at Kushel, then at one another.

“…What are the odds…” Zack said slowly. “That it wasn’t Joseph who got accosted by Raziel’s enemies…”

“But us? Pretty hecking high, I’d say.” Serafina replied.

 

ZL Who is it?

JC we’re not sure, but if you’re with Yasen… Vasa’s told me some stories.

JC look, I’d inform you, but it’s best if you know as little as possible, otherwise you might say something wrong to those guys and they’ll… well…

so what do we do?! SG

LZ Nothing for now, seriously. We’re coming to get you, it’s going to be fine. What are you doing, anyway?

ZL Currently looking for a ‘universe seed’ or some shit.

JC i’ve just asked Vasa for advice. he said just go along with them, try and stall them as much as possible, and wait for Lola and Mizar.

JC hopefully things should work out alright after that.

ZL Hopefully, huh? Thank fuck for “hopefully”, that really fills me with, well, “hope”.

LZ Zack, calm it.

ZL Fine. Where are Cass and Geoff, anyway?

LZ I believe they’ll be in the middle of training or something. That’s what they were going to do, so perhaps they’re still at it.

ZL I see. Well, they’ll read all of this later, I guess.

 

“Hey, Zack.” Serafina said. “I’m not really concerned if you’re not. It seems like this Vasa guys knows what he’s doing, and besides, your best pal Lola is coming to save us!”

“…Yeah.” Zack replied. “I just wonder what the hell happened in that ten minutes that we got accosted by somebody other than the real Raziel.”

“No idea. Speaking of being accosted, I spot lost ones over there.” Serafina replied. She stood up and offered a hand to Zack. “Shall we?”

Zack took her hand and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. He took a spear from Yasen’s side and observed the three lost ones approaching, just as horrifying and broken as the last encounter. He shivered as he heard their unearthly hollers.

Serafina raised a hand. “I have to say, I really want to see what I can do with my pyrokinesis now.” She shook her blond hair out of her face, adjusted her sunglasses, and waited for the lost ones to begin clambering onto the firmness of the island.

One of them was a bit faster than the others, being the only one with two arms, and Zack intercepted it, striking it once with his spear. It rolled over and tried to lunge at him, but he drove the spear into the creature’s head, causing it to dissolve into nothingness.

He turned to see what Serafina was doing, and saw he charging her hands with flames. They swirled around her palms, but her skin did not seem to burn. After a few more moments, just as the other two lost ones clambered towards her, she unleashed a mighty fireball than obliterated the two lost ones; the knockback caused her to fly off, wreathed in flames, several metres backwards.

Zack raced forward and telekinetically shifted two backpacks after her. Serafina had launched herself off the safety and stability of the island; whilst neither she nor Zack were familiar with what happened when they walked in the less stable parts of the Reaches, they did not want to find out firsthand. Serafina landed on the backpacks, and Zack returned them to the island, whereupon Serafina clambered unsteadily to her feet, smiling at her feat.

“That was new and impressive.” she said. “And I didn’t burn, either. I have to wonder, can I..?”

“Don’t do anything rash.” Zack replied, taking a hesitant step back. “And for the love of fuck, don’t light yourself on fire near the supplies.”

“Right!” Serafina exclaimed, taking a few steps away. “Thanks.”

She spread her hands wide, and fire began to burst all around her, engulfing her body entirely in flames. She giggled in the inferno, and waved at Zack, launching small flickers of flame as she did.

“Careful!” yelped Zack, leaping back. Serafina nodded, allowing her power to fade – the flames died out, and she swayed precariously. Zack offered an arm, and she leaned on it gratefully as they both sat back down.

“So, with more control and power comes more mental and physical strain.” Zack said.

“It feels like a muscle.” Serafina replied. “Does that make sense? Like, the more I do it, the easier it’ll be.”

“I think you’re probably right. But I’m pretty tired out myself, and we’re supposed to be on guard until those two wake up.”

“Right, yes. Guess we should try not to do anything else dumb, then. Like launch yourself off your stable island in the middle of a weird dimension that has strange rules.” Serafina said.

“Yeah.” Zack replied. “Let’s just chat for a bit, then. We’ve never met up in person, after all; want to talk about anything in particular?”

“It’s been a good while since I’ve had a proper goss session, you know. You’re not Cass or Lola, but you’ll certainly do!”

“Uh, sure.” Zack replied. “What do I d-”

“So, right – you will never believe what this guy at my college did the other day! He obviously fancies me, so he was like ‘do you wanna play some video games later’…”

The island sailed on as Zack listened to Serafina’s gossip. Idly, he wondered how all of his friends were doing, and in the back of his mind, worries about who this false Raziel really was surfaced. He shook away his fears for the time being. Something about hanging around Serafina made people comfortable and relaxed; she was never out of her depth.

He nodded at her latest statement, though he hadn’t actually heard it. “No way. Go on, what happened next?”

“Well! I’ll tell you! By this time there’s blood everywhere, so…”

Cause [1.4.4]
Cause [1.4.6]

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