No prophecy… I was so dumbstruck I stumbled back. “You… what?” It was if everything I knew had been pulled apart, let out to sea… drifting away… leaving me alone and very unsure about my footing.
“Two hundred years ago!” Addison shrugged. “I convinced some witch I had the power of prophesy and I foretold about the end of magic. I did this every so often and eventually added your name into it. Very subtly. By the time you came along, well, several circles of magic-users knew about you and it didn’t take much to convince people to join me. People who are now dying for me to succeed. Literally. I’ve told most of them I am going to stop you. Some know the truth though.”
“Which is what?” I asked, shocked by this revelation. No prophecy. It had all been lies. A lie to get me caught in her web… lies… people had been killed over this and it had been lies. The Briggs–AZ, she and her parents had been killed because they believed in the prophecy and had tried to kill me to stop it. They had died absolutely needlessly.
“That I need you to absorb two centuries of pure magic in order to make it safe for me!” Addison waved her hand at the conductor thing. “You see, as Dr. Redding insinuated earlier, I would drop dead if I tried taking in this power. I needed someone to be a filter.” She came closer to me, placing one of her fingers on my chest. “You.” It was then I realized I couldn’t move. Something kept my feet stuck firmly to the ground. I began struggling and Addison laughed. “None of you can leave now, not until I get what I want!”
Max and Jay were both fighting whatever kept us stuck in place. “I’m not going to be your fucking filter!” I snarled as I grabbed one of my daggers and flung it at her. It merely hit her invisible armor and fell harmlessly to the ground.
“You don’t have a choice, my dear.”
“WHY ME? WHY ME OUT OF EVERYONE IN THIS WORLD?! WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ME?! WHY DID GOOSE HAVE TO BE KILLED?!”
“Hmm, I believe Summer killed your little boyfriend because she thought it would be funny. It sounds like something she’d do.” Addison gave another shrug and began walking again. “And I chose you because there is nobody else for this. You see, Zaid, you are special. Your ‘grandma’ knew and understood this, probably more than I even do. Very intelligent, for one so old. But yes, you are special. Different. You have… I don’t know what it is… but you are. You are… oh, how do I explain this?” She tapped at her chin as she moved behind me, where I couldn’t see. “Ah. The deepest point. You have a dip in the ground… and water collects at the deepest point, no?” She returned to in front of me. “Or, since male egos seem to prefer to think of themselves as big… imagine this. A hill.” She slanted her hand, moving it up through the air. “You climb and climb until you reach the very tiptop! Before going back down. That’s you. The deepest point. The highest point. The… center, if you will.”
“The center of what?” I demanded.
“I don’t know, honestly,” she replied. “Something has been brewing for two hundred years and I believe if things are left as they are, in around another two hundred years it will be done. This time issue your ‘grandmother’ has, I assume, informed you of has to do with you. Because whatever this is… you are the center of it–“
“Because you were hopping around time!” I snapped.
Addison shook her head. “Oh no, dear, I couldn’t go past two hundred-some years. I tried. I wanted half a century! But I was unable to go back further than the 1990s… it’s nothing to do with me, but you and your family… I think. The storm–the tornado–is circling because of something with your family. Your… blood. With you at the center of whatever it may be.” She moved her hand through the air again. “Your ancestors that came before you are going up the hill and your descendents after are–well, would have been going down the hill. Or vice versa, it depends if you wish to think of yourself as the top of a peak or the bottom of a valley.
“You are powerful, Zaid. A lot of magic can be put into your body without any… incident. I doubt you could even be killed by any magic that anyone here could use. That is why I chose you. For you to filter out allllll the fatal part of the magic waiting,” she motioned towards the conductor again, “and I can then take the remaining power from you. It won’t nearly be as much as what is in the conductor but it will be enough for me to do what I wish. Kill anyone I want. Subdue any supernatural I want. Take over the world!” She raised her eyebrows as excitement filled her eyes. “I’ll be such a good queen, don’t you think?”
“You’re insane,” I growled. “I’m not helping you. Why should I?”
“If you don’t then I will have you forced to watch while I cut off the limbs of your daughters,” Addison said sweetly.
I fought at the magic holding me down harder, determined to get free and murder her. I yelled obscenities and Addison just laughed. Then Jay said, “Allow me to convince him. Obviously either you’ll get what you want or we’ll all be killed so it appears to be advantageous for me to aid you.”
“I don’t trust you,” Addison sniffled.
Jay looked at me. “Allow me nearer to him so I may talk privately. I know what will convince him. Threatening his loved ones would only anger him. I may not like you, Addison, but I can help you. On the condition you give my brother the ability to walk again with your powers.”
Addison thought about this for a second then waved her hand. Jay could move and she came close to me while Addison walked away. I glowered at the traitor but before I could call her names she yanked me close and whispered, “It is not an instantaneous process, Danevbie. Ask her how long it will take to draw in all the magic and merely take in a fourth; you will have more power than she.”
“What the–” I started then realized. Ohhhhhhhh. Jay glared at me and I glared right back. “Screw you,” I spat out. “How dare you! You–fine. Obviously I have no choice. You traitor.” I hoped that sounded convincing enough; I was still angry from Addison’s threats so there was plenty of hatred in there.
“I am no traitor to you, Danevbie. The only side I am on is my own,” Jay said in a rather bored tone and really that seemed the most believable thing said all morning. “He will do as you wish, Addison. As soon as you get your ‘abilities’ you will heal my brother’s legs.” She gave me a look and I knew she meant it for me.
Addison approached me now. “You will do as I wish?”
“I’m going to die anyway,” I said.
“NO!” Max yelled. He was close enough that I knew he had to have heard Jay. “Zaidy, don’t you do this! We can fight!”
“She’ll kill me regardless and this way my family will be safe!” I snapped back. “Right?” I added to Addison who nodded. “Fine. FINE. You bitch.”
I found myself able to move again–only slightly, though, as I suspected if I tried to run I’d be tied up… or if I tried to attack her. I followed Addison over to the conductor. She told me what I needed to do. Hold onto the conductor and concentrate on absorbing the power within. Once the transfer finished I would have about two to five seconds before the power ripped apart my body. I asked how long it would take to take all the power and Addison informed me it would take about twenty seconds, giggling about how in half a minute she’d be able to take over the world.
Five seconds, I told myself as I looked at the conductor. Five seconds and you will have like, fifty years worth of powerful magic inside of you and you’ll be able to kill her and end this providing Redding tells the truth. I reached out with shaky hands. What if I can’t pull away? I looked over at Max who stared intently back. What if something goes wrong? I licked my lips and moved my hands closer. If you don’t do this, she’ll kill Reeny and Arty and Noah. You know she will.
“Here goes nothing,” I whispered and placed my hands on the top of the conductor.
It felt like I placed my hands on freezing fire. One-one-thousand. I screamed at the feeling, icy heat seizing my body and my brain.
Two-one-thousand. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t keep holding onto this.
Three-one-thousand. Would three seconds be long enough?
Four-one-thousand. Just one more s-second…
Five. One. Thousand.
I tried to let go of the conductor and it felt like my hands were glued. Screaming louder I yanked as hard as I could. I struggled in panic and finally managed to let go, falling back onto the ground, my entire body humming with magic. It felt like my body vibrated, as if every little bit of skin was alive. When I opened my eyes I could see foggy light whispering through the air–connecting everything. I slowly sat up, feeling as if everything around me had slowed down and I remained at normal speed.
A buzzy sound. Addison yelling. I turned my head to look at her, all lit up like a Christmas tree or something. Her eyes glowed bright with strong magic–I assumed how she could see us in the woods–and I could see the magical armor on her and the chains of glowing thread that shot out everywhere connecting her to unseen things. Connecting her to Max and Jay. I smiled as I mentally snipped the thread and both Max and Jay collapsed, as they had both been trying to move. Addison’s buzzing screams grew louder and she slowly ran towards me. I wanted to laugh at how slow she moved.
I focused instead on the world around me. I could see magic. It was everywhere, floating in the air. Connecting everything. Or maybe it wasn’t magic. Whatever it was, it was beautiful. I reached out and moved my hands through the fog, watching it drift around. I laughed again, raising my hands. My hands glowed. My fingertips glowed. I flicked my hands, watching as beads of multicolored light burst out like fireworks. Such beauty! I flung out more of the magical fireworks, grinning from ear to ear.
My mind! I felt connected to everything! I could hear Max’s thoughts. Jay’s thoughts. Addison. Even the people farther away. It was like with Lumie only multiplied, but I could easily tell the difference between each voice and equally easily quieted them down until my mind was my own. Then I switched on Addison’s thoughts, listening to her raging that I had outwitted her. I turned her off and went into Max’s mind. He was torn between fear for me and awe of me.
>I’m fine,< I assured him and enjoyed seeing his eyes get as big as a full moon.
I looked up at the sky again, staring in interest at the lacy design far, far above me. Not quite a web… almost like a… doily? It stretched across the sky into oblivion, as if a cover over us. How strange. If I didn’t know better I’d have thought it was some sort of… cage.
“Oh, no you don’t.” I waved my hand to stop Addison in her tracks only a foot away from me, magic wrapping around her. “No, no.” She stood as a statue, unable to move. I mentally pictured her moving her arm and up it went. “Now you’re my puppet. Is this what you wanted? To make the world your puppet?” I spun her around then flung her to the ground. “Now I have the power.” I took two strides closer to her. My eyes were beginning to hurt a bit for some reason. “And you, Colette Addison, are dust.”
She exploded into a cloud of dust and I conjured a breeze to send her off. I just laughed harder. Gone! Like that! I had so much power… Is this what witches and wizards felt? What magic-users felt? No. I had more power than them. I didn’t need any spells. I just had to think of something and it would happen.
Uncle Kay, I remembered and closed my eyes, thinking of him. Miles and miles away. He came into my head, a crystal clear image. I could see inside of him, at his muscles and bones and veins. I slithered into his legs and began repairing the damage done… or trying. I didn’t know much about how to do this. Power did not equal knowledge. “I cannot heal his legs at this second, Jay, but as soon as I look through a medical book I can.” I withdrew from Uncle Kay and looked at his twin.
“You promised!” she snarled, one fist raising.
“And I will, as soon as I know how. If I try without knowing what I am doing I could do more harm than good,” I said and waved my hand. “Just go to him now.” She disappeared into thin air. Teleported to her twin. By me. I could teleport people! I wondered what else I could do… almost anything I guessed. So much power in my hands. No wonder Addison wanted this.
I screwed my eyes shut and thought about Addison. Like an old film or pictures, I began seeing her again, guessing this was a bit like how seers could see the past and future. I zipped back through Addison’s life, trying to figure her out–trying to figure this out. I saw she had made the red light. A result of her time traveling. The one when Goose was alive was her going back in time, the one a few months ago was her returning.
She had formed a group to get her what she wanted. Magical beings, led by her. She used the faerie that had killed Goose as the face of the operation after promising–falsely–that she loved the faerie. Every time she popped in through time she caused more and more holes. I could practically see them, causing so many upsets in the magical world–loss of balance. She didn’t care, she just wanted power for herself and everything that happened in her pursuit did not matter to her. Like Goose. She realized that she lost the operation and so contacted the man who injected Royce, to turn people into werewolves–to be her new army. Werewolves and ghosts and zombies. Warriors, or would have been warriors if we hadn’t defeated them before they were trained to fight…
I changed my focus on the future instead. That turned out to be much more difficult to see. Everything seemed foggy and dark. A few things appeared but nothing very solid. It seemed the future was very unclear…
I thought of my own past, going through–and seeing my pa’s life zipping by, his mother… her father… something connected us all, I could sense it, I could feel it. Something inside of us. When I focused on my own body it was there, something in our blood… connecting us… not all of us, not Lumie or Saya or Gladdy… no all blooded Danevbies… just me… Pa… the foggy distant ancestors, I couldn’t quite see right but if I focused hard enough I knew I could eventually going back to–
It abruptly stopped, my power to see the past stopped as if I had run into a wall. I tried to figure out when. 200-ish years ago, I wagered…
A Danevbie, there was a Danevbie. A newborn baby crying. Fists flailing, mouth open, squalling for someone, for anyone. Nobody there…
“The power, Max!” I laughed, whirling around to face him, sending magic flying through the air as spinning lights. “I have so much power! I can see things. I can hear things.” She had wanted to destroy things but I could help people.” My eyes began burning more and I tried to ignore it. “I could help the supernatural world. I could help everyone, make the world better, make everything better. “Max, this is wonderful. I can do–“
“Zaid, you held on too long,” Max whispered.
I hesitated, not wanting anything to ruin the joy I felt from my power. “What?”
He looked down, a tear rolling down his cheek. “You were holding onto that conductor for fifteen seconds…”
“Oh. Well, it doesn’t matter. I can fi–” I stopped as pain hit my body. I yelled out as the pain brought me to my knees. “Oh Watcher. Oh shit this hurts!”
“Zaidy!” Max ran over, kneeling next to me, a hand on my shoulder. “I’ll go get someone, Gretchen will know what to do–someone will know!”
I already know, I realized. He was right. I had held on too long. My body was beginning to shut down from all the power. That’s why my eyes were hurting. The ache that began filling my legs. “D-don’t go!” I grabbed hold of his wrist, terrified to be alone. “Stay with me. P-please stay with me. AUUUUGH!” I fell back to the ground and Max caught me, settling to the ground with my head in his lap. “It hurts–it hurrrtts!”
I could feel it now. I could see it. The foggy lights circling my legs, causing tingling white-hot pain wherever it touched. No… not circling my legs. Being emitted from my legs–from all over. The magic was literally too much for my body so it was pouring out through my skin. I tried to force the magic out, back into the conductor, but I couldn’t.
I had held on too long.
Magic was ravaging my body.
I was going to die.
“M-Max, d-don’t go,” I gasped out, clutching at his shirt.
“I’m here,” he said, rocking gently. “I’m here. You’ll be okay, Zaidy-boy. You’ll be fine. You have to be fine.” A few tears dripped down onto my shirt. “You’ve got to be fine!”
Don’t think about this, think about something else, focus through the pain, Zaid.
“You want to be mortal?” I asked, turning my attention on him. I could see the magic inside of him. The bits and bobs. I could tell which gave him what ability and easily saw what gave him immortality. Manipulating the magic inside someone’s body seemed much easier than dealing with muscles and bone.
“I can get rid of it.” I saw it so clearly. It would just take the right thought and the immortal genes inside of him would turn to nothing. “I could help Royce too. He hates being immortal. If he were mortal, would you want to be mortal?” I asked, knowing the answer already. “I could do it so, so easily.”
Max went silent then very, very carefully nodded. “I h-hate this. I d-don’t want to be… But, you focus on yourself. Zaidy, save yourself, all right buddy?”
I closed my eyes and shot my mind over to Royce. I entered his mind without trouble and asked him if he wanted to be mortal. He seemed utterly confused and very surprised to find me in his brain but I helped him concentrate on the question; I didn’t have much time. He informed me that he’d give anything to be mortal but didn’t want to leave Max on his own.
>You’ll both be fine,< I promised and gave a vocal yelp as I used my power to cut away the genes inside of him that stopped the aging process. >You’ll still be a werewolf, you’ll still heal from wounds, but you will age as a normal human…< Then I closed my mind from him and did the same for Max.
“You’re both mortal now,” I whispered. Then I screamed as the pain grew worse, as the icy heat began consuming my body. “Max–Watcher Max–“
“Zaid, let’s go, I’ll go get help–“
“D-don’t leave me,” I begged, holding onto him. “Please d-don’t leave me. I don’t want to be alone.” I don’t want to die alone.
“I won’t leave you, Zaidy.”
I went to the twins, feeling guilty I had not–and could not–heal Uncle Kay. I stepped into his head easily enough, apologizing to his freaked out mind. Then I pulled away, cutting off our bond. I could cut Lumie’s bond with me too. In fact that would be the best thing to do, to stop her from being connected to me when… when it happened…
>I love you sis,< I said then snapped apart our connection though not before I found out who all had been killed in the battle. At least, one person in particular. I wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been filling her mind, the only thing inside of her head.
My father had been killed, brought down by a witch’s spell that had been meant for Lumie until Dad shoved her out of the way, taking the spell instead.
Strong, proud, stubborn, scowly Dad had been killed.
My father was dead.
More screams, more anguish. My body jerked and twitched for a few seconds before settling down. My legs were on fire. My arms were, too. My chest… it was becoming a bit hard to breathe. The pain. Too much pain. It wouldn’t STOP!
“T-tell Noah I love him, ok?”
“No–Zaid, don’t do this!”
My eyes felt like they would explode but I kept them open to look at Max’s tear stained face. “Tell Reeny and Arty I love them too and the one that’ll be born, I love them too–” I stopped as the pain grew more intense and my body arched up, more screams emitting from my mouth.
The conductor. I couldn’t leave it standing, I couldn’t have someone else try to harness it, or die by accidentally touching it. Addison had put protection spells around the place that were already breaking down now she was dead. I used all my concentration to destroy the conductor, turning it into the same dust I turned Addison into.
“No… no more,” I gasped out when the last bit floated off. Thousands of miniscule fingers pulled at my eyes, burning them. Then… darkness… “Max–Max?! You–where are you?!”
“I’m here, I’m right here.”
“I c-can’t see you. I can’t see. I can’t see!”
“I’m here. I’m here. I’m here, Zaidy-boy.”
The pain grew worse. The miniscule fingers tore at every last pinpoint of my body, from the inside out. Leaving points of fiery cold pain. whereever they touchhed.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry…”
“No, it’s okay, Zaid, you’re okay, you’ve got to be okay. Try to heal yourself! T-try to heal… yourself… come on…”
My magic co uldn’t fix it the magic was too much the mag ic was overtaking everything
“I can’t see. Don’t stop talking. Please don’t let go of me.”
I groped at his body and it felt so strange, like ice.i ce that burned. burning and col d.
“I’m not going to let go of you. I’ve got you, Zaidy.”
b ur ning ice
b ur ning m e
“Zaid, it’s okay, I’m here, I’m here, Zaidy-boy.”
r i p p i n g m e
“Please say something, Zaid… Zaidy?”
“Zaidy? Say something? ZAIDY-BOY?!”
“Zaidy, no, please, talk to me, Zaidy, talk to me.”