Not sure if anyone missed this since I didn’t get a chance to post last week, but just in case, here is an extra long installment… 🙂
De Lancre stood in the shattered door frame, his face glowing in a sickly pale blue light as shadows danced across his features. His hands, held up and by his side, crackled with the same lightning that Maite remembered from their first encounter, the same lightning that de Lancre had used to literally fry Blas Telleria to death. She repressed a gag as the smell of burning flesh suddenly came back to her.
“I’m starting to get tired of this magic bullshit,” said Latxe as she stared at the snarling man at the end of the hall.
“I can fix that!” barked de Lancre as he thrust his hand forward and a lightning bolt burst from his open palm.
Latxe jabbed at her tablet and suddenly a metal wall appeared between them and de Lancre, intercepting the lightning bolt before it could reach them. She jabbed a few more times and an opening appeared in the floor behind them.
“Come on,” yelled Kepa as he grabbed Maite’s hand. “Goazen! Let’s go.”
Maite shook her head. “Ez, that’s where he’ll think we went.” She pointed over at the balcony. “That way.”
Kepa nodded as Maite led him and Latxe away from the hole in the floor and to the balcony, where they hid behind the wall. They could feel the heat on the metal wall Latxe had conjured intensify, until it suddenly melted into a pool of slag. Maite dared a peak around the wall and was stunned to watch de Lancre walk through the molten metal seemingly without harm. He reached the hole in the floor and, without hesitation, jumped into it.
Latxe was looking over the balcony’s railing. “I think I can have the nanobots build us a bridge over to the neighboring building.”
Maite shook her head again, turning to Kepa. “He has the zatia. It’s here, in his suite.”
“You saw it?” asked Kepa incredulously.
Maite nodded. “He’s had it for a while. He’s keeping it so he can relish his life in this bubble.”
Latxe looked at Kepa. “What is she talking about? What bubble?”
Kepa looked at Latxe, sadness in his eyes.
“This world…” he began, but he couldn’t bring himself to finish.
Maite turned to Latxe, taking her hand in hers. “This world isn’t real,” she said. “It’s a parallel timeline created by a magical fragment.”
Latxe laughed. “Not real?” she asked, laughing. “What do you mean it’s not real?” She punched Maite in the shoulder. “Didn’t that feel real?”
“It is real,” interjected Kepa, “but it isn’t supposed to exist.”
“This world isn’t meant to exist?” repeated Latxe, shaking her head. The laughter had left her voice, replaced by a rising tide of panic. “Are you saying I’m not meant to exist?”
“You are meant to exist,” answered Maite in a quiet voice that she hoped was soothing. If they were going to get out of this, they needed Latxe’s help. “Just not in this timeline.”
“I don’t understand. What do you mean ‘this timeline’?”
“Magical fragments have been cast across time and space,” replied Maite. “Every where they end up splits into a bubble of time, separate from the main timeline. Whenever these fragments, these zatia, are recovered, that bubble pops.”
“So, this reality will end,” added Kepa, “but you still live in the main timeline.”
Latxe slumped to the ground. In the background, she heard various explosions as de Lancre rampaged in the lower floors, looking for them. She looked up at Maite, and then Kepa, tears in her eyes. “How far back does this bubble go?”
Maite shook her head as she knelt down next to Latxe. “We don’t know. Whenever the zatia arrived, but we don’t know when that happened.”
Latxe looked out over the city. “All of this will just disappear once you get the zatia thing?”
Maite nodded. “Yes, but you’re still alive in the main timeline.”
“But this life will be gone,” Latxe stated more than asked.
Maite nodded again. “I’m afraid so.”
“And he let this timeline go on for his own entertainment?” asked Latxe, rage growing inside of her. “He could have ended this, but chose not too? Force us to live these false lives, knowing at some point he would end them all? He let all of us suffer for his own amusement?”
Maite looked at Kepa, who looked down at Latxe. All he could do was nod.
Latxe stood, anger etched into her face. “Then let’s destroy that bastard.”
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