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Cause [1.5.10]

“Anyone?” Mizar asked.

The group remained frozen, and Mizar’s group exited their island, joining the rest.

“Lola!” Zack shouted as he spotted her. She jumped as her name was yelled, but waved back once she saw him.

“It’s quite simple.” Yasen said. “There’s lots of people with lots of grudges, and as soon as anybody moves, we’re all going to be murdered.”

Mizar would have ordinarily faltered, or not known what to say, but knowing that the burden of leadership was upon him, decided to take charge as best he could.

“Right. On the condition that absolutely nobody murders anybody when I say ‘everyone sit down’ – yes, that means you too, Cassil – here we go. Everyone sit down and drop your weapons.”

Even the Officials, who technically outranked Mizar, decided to comply, and soon, the group were sat on the island, with Mizar, Fafnir and Lola stood watching them.

“This cannot keep happening.” Mizar replied. “If we want to actually save the universe we’re responsible for, we need to figure out which plan we’re going ahead with and we need to come to some kind of agreement. Are we agreed there?”

There was a muttered response from the assorted people somewhere between ‘yeah’ and ‘sure’. Mizar nodded, with Fafnir observing proceedings with a smile.

“So, we’ll do it simpl-”

“Hold it! Officials! Drop your weapons!”

The entire party turned to see Levan and Harrut running up – Harrut was lagging behind, but the lithe Levan had easily reached the island from her own. She stopped dead in her tracks once she’d arrived. “What are this many people doing here?”

“Everyone sit the fuck down and listen to me!” Mizar yelled. Raising their hands to placate the young Voidian, Levan and Harrut sat, after a curt nod from Cassil.

“OK, now that we’re all acting somewhat normally, let’s try and figure out what the hell is happening. Firstly, why are we all here? You start.” he said, glaring at Yasen.

“After I… no use hiding it now, huh? After killing Raziel, I decided the best thing to do was use the children to find the Universe Seed, rather than wasting our own non-expendable Officials. Me and Kushel went to do that.” Yasen said.

“We’re expendable now?” growled Zack.

“Zack, I actually found myself enjoying your company!” Yasen replied forcefully. “Please… please don’t do this.”

Zack continued glaring at the Official, but shut up.

“Right. Moving on to Levan and Harrut… what are you doing here?”

“We came in our duty as Officials to bring Cassil home.”

“I didn’t need your help, sister!” Cassil cried.

“You weren’t consulted! I am an Official before I am a sister, and I must do the right-” Levan broke off awkwardly as she realised what she had said. Cassil stared at her, a look of horror on her face.

“No, Cassil, I didn’t mean that I don’t care about your problems, I just, we got so worried, I…”

Cassil was silent.

“Sort it later!” barked Mizar, almost at his wits’ end already. “Moving on… kids, you’re just here because we need your help. No need to explain yourselves when you’re practically innocent. Cassil, am I right in thinking that you’re here to kill Yasen?”

“She murdered Raziel, Miz! How can you just stand there and speak to her? Like he’s not gone?”

“Cassil…” Mizar murmured. “I know. I feel that pain too. That aching longing that you know will never go away for as long as you live. I’m not going to pretend to like Yasen, but the entire fucking universe is about to be destroyed by Antumbra. You know? The constant dreams warning us of impending destruction? That big fucking hole in the sky right above us?

“Sometimes, we have to go beyond our personal feelings in order to do what we were meant to do. We can’t falter, because if we don’t follow through on this plan, then Raziel died for nothing, and we’ll have failed to live up to his legacy. That’s why I’m pushing ahead even though I want nothing more than to just fall backwards into this rainbow juice and get crushed into nothingness. That’s why I can’t slow down. So, please, Cassil… work with us here.”

A tear flowed from Cassil’s eyes and she wiped it away. “Alright. Fine.”

“OK. We’re all out here in the Reaches now, so we may as well put that time to good use and achieve one of the plans. Is there any possible way that we can come to an agreement of what plan to do?”

“Absolutely not!” Yasen shouted.

“I think… I think there might be some way that we can compromise.” Levan said. “I just don’t know how. Perhaps we should try and discuss it again.”

“We’ve had too many discussions about this now. The kids are here, and we’re on our way to the Universe Seed… if it exists. Therefore, we have the capability to do either Raziel’s plan or the Official’s plan.” Mizar replied.

“The plan we were told is that we beat the Kings in combat, and the incubator opens.” Zack said. Lola nodded, going to sit with him and Serafina.

“That’s our plan. The Officials, being the cowards they are,” Mizar said, glaring at the assorted Officials sat around, “Decided it would be a much better idea to just find the Universe Seed and hatch it once Antumbra destroys the universe, effectively replacing it.”

“Wait, would it be the same universe?” Lola asked.

“Research says probably not.” Kushel said. “It would be a facsimile; on the outside, much the same, but on the inside, rather different.”

“So, what you’re telling us is that the alternative plan is to allow my friends and family to die, then replace the universe with an identical copy that won’t have any of those people in it?” Serafina hissed.

“I refuse to do that.” Zack said.

“Who said you had a choice? You are the sword in the scabbard of our world – a means to an end.” Harrut said.

“Fuck you!” Zack yelled. “Who the hell even are you?”

“Zack, please calm down.” Lola replied. “We have to hear these people out.”

Zack and Serafina remained quiet. The group turned to Mizar once more.

“Yasen, are we on the path for the Universe Seed?”

“This island will hit the region where we believe it is within a few days, most likely.” Yasen said. “Then, we can hatch it whenever we want.”

“You’re lying.”

Silence reigned.

“You’re lying.” Lola said again. “My telepathy tells me everything. You’re the one they call Yasen, right? It seems to me that you know something you haven’t mentioned to anyone else yet.”

Yasen went white.

“If Yasen’s mind is telling me the truth…” Lola said to Mizar. “Then she knows that in order to hatch the Universe Seed, you need to put it in the incubator. You know, the incubator that only opens once the Kings are defeated. She knows that whichever plan we do, we will have to fight the Kings.”

There was uproar. Officials, Zionids and Voidians alike began yelling and arguing, with Yasen turning and glaring at a satisfied Lola.

“So… it’s nice to see you.” Zack said amidst the yelling. Lola grinned.

“I couldn’t leave my two pals out here all alone, could I? Besides, it was either that or do sword training with Geoffrey, and well…”

“That sounds like a euphemism.” smirked Serafina. Lola laughed.

Once the fighting had begun to die down, Mizar began to yell again.

“Everyone! Everyone! Quieten down! Right… if we’re going to prove that what Yasen or, uh, Lola said is true, then we need to wait. I have it on good authority that Denneb will be arriving in the next few minutes, and he’s got a copy of Seeds and Shadows on his wrist phone. He’ll be able to set us straight.”

“Oh, good, more people.” Zack moaned. “I was just thinking that this island wasn’t crowded enough yet.”

Cause [1.5.9]
Cause [1.5.11]

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