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Cause [1.5.3]

The island was relatively calm. Cassil stumbled along a path of stability and leapt onto the island as it swept past. Placing her bag of meagre supplies in the centre of the island, she breathed in heavily and exhaled, lying back on the ground. The walk had been at a gruelling, fast pace, and she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

But now was the time to rest. Her mind drifted back to Raziel, his smile, his laugh, the little wink to her that he did whenever Ephra lectured him on washing up properly. His little snuffle when she woke him up in the early morning, the refined way he’d drink his tea. They both loved tea. It must have all meant something…

“Right?” Cassil whispered to herself, staring at the intense blackness in the sky, wondering if it would swallow her whole if she asked nicely.

The island moved slowly onwards. She heard no screams, and retreated to her memories once more, hiding behind layers and layers of nostalgia.

In her head, a memory resurfaced.

Three years prior…

Cassil woke remembering all that had occurred the previous night – losing her spear, Raziel vanishing out the door, and going to bed worried sick. As she came awake, she reflexively reached for her wrist phone. No new messages.

Dressing hurriedly, she opened her door and stepped into the hub room. Immediately, she breathed a sigh of relief as she saw an unconscious Raziel lying on the sofa, her spear on the table. She ran to him and collapsed beside him. He jolted awake. “Uh-?”

“Raziel! Seriously, please, please… don’t do that ever again. I was so worried!”

“Nothing to concern yourself with. You got your spear, and today we’re gonna go and have a fun competition, yeah?” Raziel replied with his trademark grin. Cassil relented.

“Yeah. Yeah, let’s do it.”

“But first, breakfast.” Raziel said. “I was gonna drop by Haniel’s, they do pretty good breakfasts. It’s just a short walk away from the arena, too.”

Cassil rested her head on Raziel’s chest as he ran his fingers through her hair gently.

“That sounds good.”

When he chuckled, she felt the vibration of his chest, and for a moment, all was right with the world. Raziel began to sit up, and she stood beside him, picking up her spear.

“Thank you.” she said. “For getting it.”

“It wasn’t too much of a bother. Had a run-in with the Officials, but that was about it.”

“The what?!” cried Cassil. Raziel raised his hands defensively.

“Look, I wasn’t intending that to happen. They reacted quicker than expected – I got the spear, and got out. Breaking the law, when it’s such a stupid law like this, is perfectly acceptable. Why they can’t just have the arena be open all night, I have no idea.”

“Are you saying breaking the law is fine so long as you think it’s a stupid law?” Cassil said.

“Precisely.” Raziel said, striding to his room, with Cassil following.

“But why do you get to decide if it’s a stupid law or not?” Cassil replied as Raziel picked out an outfit and began to dress.

“Why not?” he said. “I know my own moral compass. Those people who write the laws don’t live in the real world. If I want to break a tiny law, just once, I don’t see the issue. The true problem isn’t seeing the laws as stupid – it’s not seeing laws. Thinking yourself above consequences. If I get caught, I’ll face my punishment justly.”

With that, he put his helmet on, gave her a winning smile, and strode out the door, spear in hand. Cassil sighed, not sure what to say, and traipsed after him.

“…Hey, where’s Ephra?” Raziel asked. “Her door’s open.”

Curious, he pushed the door open. She wasn’t in the room, though he wasn’t expecting her to be; Ephra never went to sleep with her door ajar.

“Called in early?” Cassil said. “She only gets half the day off for the competition. Perhaps something happened that needs her attention.”

“I guess.” Raziel replied. He shrugged. “If we see her at the arena later, we can ask about it.”

They walked over to the door, and Raziel opened it with a relaxed smile. It dropped from his face several seconds later as two Zionid Officials walked up to greet him.

“Raziel, I presume?” Yasen said, a thunderous gaze in her eyes.

 

 




 

Far away, in the Official Outpost of Zion, Ephra blearily yawned as Yasen glanced up at her. She was sat in the paperwork room looking over some files, with a laptop open beside her, busy with some kind of task. The noise of the room was unlike any other place – a strange mixture of whispering, the scratching of pens moving along paper, with the additional mumbles and noises from the break room just up the stairs.

“You’re here. Good.” Yasen said. “We had a break-in last night at the arena. I discovered the suspect but was unable to apprehend; I need you to look through the night-vision CCTV footage. It just arrived from the arena.”

“Right.” Ephra said, trying to absorb all of that information immediately. “Sure.”

“The laptop’s just loading the footage now. Take it upstairs, get a coffee, and shout once you find the suspect and a match.”

“Will do.” Ephra said. Yasen looked at her.

“You’ve got the competition later, right? Like me?”

“I do.” Ephra replied. “I’ve been training hard.”

“As have I. Sorry to be working you so hard. Induction is pretty much the busiest you’ll ever be as an Official, so, you know, don’t feel bad if you fall behind in the competition. It isn’t your fault.”

Ephra nodded, and Yasen eyes twinkled, recalling for a brief moment what it had been like during her initiation to the Officials.

“Alright, off with you.” Yasen said. Ephra saluted, took the laptop and walked up the stairs.

It was a dreadfully boring task, she decided at half an hour in, watching CCTV. She’d found the slot where the break-in was said to have occurred, and now she just had to scan every camera in the arena to find a brief moment where the suspect’s face was visible.

She found it. It looked familiar to her, and as she highlighted the image and ran it through the database, she idly wondered what this person had been attempting to do, and whether they were successful.

Yasen strode in, clearly tired herself, and made herself a coffee. There were few Zionid Officials in at this time in the morning, and those that were in were downstairs, finishing their work before the competition. The light streamed in through the windows, and as the coffee machine rumbled to life, Yasen glanced sidelong at Ephra, who was sat in the corner of the room in a comfortable plush seat.

“Found anything?”

“Running it through the database now.” she said. “We should have a result shortly.”

Once her instant coffee was ready, Yasen took a huge gulp and sat beside Ephra. Soon after, the laptop pinged, and a file was brought up on the screen.

Ephra stared at it with rising concern.

“Raziel. Never heard the name before. Looks like a troublemaker – that address is familiar, too. Don’t you live near there?”

“In the, uh, area.” Ephra replied, her face white.

“Huh. Perhaps you’ve seen this guy around, then.”

“I-it’s entirely possible.” Ephra said, her throat constricted.

“Well, we can place him at the scene.” Yasen said. “I’ll inform the superiors of what’s happened, and we’ll apprehend him ASAP. You coming?”

“Yeah.” Ephra said, putting the laptop to one side, her mind racing as she tried to think of why the hell Raziel, of all people, would have broken into the arena. “Yeah, I’m coming.”

Cause [1.5.2]
Cause [1.5.4]

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