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Cause [1.5.12]

There was a ringing. The figure sat on his island tapped the screen of his wrist phone and a Zionid’s worried face appeared.

“Yo.”

“Denneb, you there?”

“I just said yo, so evidently, yes.” Denneb replied.

“Don’t smarm me!” Vasa said. “I just figured out some really important stuff – are you with everyone else in the Reaches?”

“I’m just about to join them. Looks like there’s some kind of commotion going ahead.”

He stepped off his island and jogged over to the island he could see in the distance, revolving slowly as a group of tired, angry and annoyed people sat and waited for him. As he ran up, Mizar nodded.

“Thanks for making it. We need to settle some things.”

“I know,” Denneb replied, holding up the wrist phone and cranking up the volume. “I’ve got Vasa on call now, he has something to share with us all.”

Everyone crowded around the wrist phone, and Vasa nodded. “Right, here we go. So, me and Joseph were thinking about the incubator, and I realised that we’ve made a terrible mistake. We’ve all been sat here believing that the ultimate purpose of the incubator is to open, and so we need to beat the Kings to do that.”

“Right.” Mizar said.

“What is the problem with such a view?” Harrut asked.

“The issue,” Vasa explained. “Is that we’re mistaken on that idea. It doesn’t make any sense that defeating the Kings would make a random sub-dimension open. No… think about what the word ‘incubator’ actually means. The ‘ultimate purpose’ that Seeds and Shadows described isn’t opening – it’s incubating!”

Yasen tilted her head. “…What does this mean for the Kings?”

Vasa scanned the book quickly, and Zack spotted Joseph sitting in the background of the call. He smirked, imagining how awkward Joseph must feel, seeing so many new faces at once.

“Now, I don’t know if we all know this, but the Kings have a special purpose. The universe has infinite energy, which is the same psychic energy that the kids have. However, if it surges too much, it’ll cause a Big Crunch. If it doesn’t surge enough, it’ll cause a Big Sigh, and either way, the universe will end. Now, King Malak causes surges and King Eidolon quells them: they work together to keep the amount of infinite energy in the universe at an acceptable level – not too much, not too little. Right?”

“We understand.” Cassil replied.

“So, the incubator isn’t locked off arbitrarily. It’ll open as soon as we go there; but there’s not going to be any infinite energy inside.”

“What? How are we supposed to achieve either plan without the incubator having infinite energy?”

“Think about it!” Vasa cried. “What do we know about the Kings?! They control psychic energy. So, they control the ebb and flow of infinite energy in the universe; of course, they must control the infinite energy in the incubator!”

“…Oh, of course.” Denneb replied. “If we defeat the Voidian King, it’ll throw the infinite energy out of whack as King Malak causes a surge!”

“Allowing us to take control of it, and use it to defeat Antumbra.”

Denneb looked at the group. “This is it. We stand here now because we have a goal: to stop Antumbra. Both plans need us to defeat the Kings, because we need infinite energy – either to use the incubator to hatch the Universe Seed or to empower a weapon with the strength to beat Antumbra.”

“What does that mean?” asked Yasen.

“It means,” Vasa replied with a curt glare. “That for the time being… we’re all working towards the same goal. To defeat the King. Now, are we agreed?”

“I refuse.” Yasen spat. Kushel placed a beefy arm on her shoulder.

“Yasen. Please reconsider.”

“Kushel? You’re siding with them?”

“Everyone is, Yasen.” Levan replied. “We’re not beholden to our Kings – we’re beholden to the universe. We still don’t know what plan to do, but fighting the Kings is something we don’t have a choice with. Either way, we will have to relinquish their control over infinite energy.”

“I would let the universe burn if it meant the Kings were safe.” Yasen glowered.

“Eidolon, too?” Vasa asked. “Yasen, if I’m right… we won’t need to fight Malak at all. In fact, we need his surges to power the incubator, so we will only have to defeat Eidolon.”

Yasen was silent.

“…Everyone else?” asked Denneb. “Who’s for working together? For the sake of the universe?”

Slowly, everyone made their choice. The kids put their hands up: Zack, then Lola, then Serafina. Levan and Harrut followed suit, as did Mizar and Fafnir. Kushel raised his hand up, and Caroli did too. Situla mirrored Caroli, and Alcor thrust his hand skyward. It was a strange tableau, with the lot of them facing Denneb, hands in the air. Yasen and Cassil kept their hands resolutely down, but eventually Cassil relented and put her hand up. Everyone turned to face Yasen, who lifted her arm up a miniscule amount.

“Then it’s settled.” Vasa said. “Let’s save the universe.”

“I am ready to put our issues aside.” Kushel said. “These disagreements have only complicated matters. Now we have a common goal – we can work out the issue of what plan to perform once we know more. But for now, we shall work together.”

“Let’s do it.” Vasa replied. “Good luck, you guys.”

Harrut glanced at Yasen. “I neglected to bring the handcuffs that would keep your rage at bay, so you will still come with us, despite the crimes weighing over you. My eyes will be like doting mothers, never letting you out of my sight.”

Yasen inwardly decided that this was an acceptable enough solution, and knew, with a pang of guilt, it could have been a much harsher punishment. She complied and silently went to stand next to Harrut.

The call with Vasa ended, and Denneb lowered his arm, wincing slightly. “Right… what’s happening now?”

“Right now? We head over to that island there.” Levan said, pointing to a large island travelling slowly through the colourful mire, much bigger than their current one. “It’s large enough to accomodate us all, and once we’re there, well… I suggest we all get to sleep, honestly.”

“That is a good idea. We have all been working hard.” Kushel said. “Let us go.”

Taking care not to end up lost, and focussing hard on their goal, the group began to make their way over to the bigger island. Unnoticed by the rest of the Zionids and Voidians, Zack, Lola and Serafina trailed at the back of the group, chatting amongst themselves.

“So, I guess we’re gonna be the ones fighting Eidolon…” murmured Serafina.

“Seems like it.” Zack replied. “Not entirely sure how I feel about this, honestly. I mean, finding out that Raziel was dead and we were lied to… and now with all of this confusion? It’s a fucking mess.”

“At least we’re together.” Lola replied. “I’m just happy you two are safe.”

Zack smiled, but Serafina was staring at the ominous hole in the sky. She could swear it had grown bigger. “Safe, sure, but for how long?”

A dreadful silence surrounded the group as they reached the big island.

Cause [1.5.11]
Cause [1.5.13]

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