The Aftermath of Mount Woe Chapter 23
"Everything is in order then? Good. Tell Melchior to begin the warm up phase." Zeal said curtly. The messenger nodded an ran out of the room. Zeal had been feeling better lately, and had apologized to the messenger she waylaid earlier. He was keeping his distance from her though. She had not retracted her harsh order, because that would send a sign to the populace that the ruler of the kingdom was not sure of herself. She could not have that going around. She had discovered that her flares of temper only occurred when the machine was activated. That was a very odd phenomenon, but until there was more evidence, she would assume it was just coincidence.
She ran through the checklist in her head. They would reraise Enhasa first, then attach the suitable land masses the Explorers had located to it, then proceed to raise the central continent. Of course, ocean levels all over the world would drop drastically, but that was just the price to be paid. Melchior's teams on the Mountain of Woe were having a little trouble with the Gaia that was still prowling around, but since it appeared to be dumb and sleepy, there had been no casualties so far. The final chains were almost in place. 'Good.' She thought. 'Once En- no, Mount Woe is firmly fixed to the ground, I can leave everything from my old life behind. There's plenty to do, and I've got to get on with it. I can't dwell on the past.' She made herself believe the tripe her public mind thought, but deep down, she knew she was trying to get rid of all reminders of Vigo because he would be spinning in his grave if he knew some of the things that were going on. Karak seemed to feel the weight of Vigo's lingering presence even moreso than she. She would be glad when she could get him out of Enhasa, and into one of the new cities.
"Your majesty!" A shout rang out. Spinning around, Zeal saw a black portal opening.
'This is new.' She thought, slightly amused.
Dalton materialized out of the portal, dragging a stone-faced boy behind him. "I've found the leak to the Enlightened ones!"
"You have?!" Zeal's face lit up. "This is excellent news. Where is the traitor?"
"You mean, this boy?"
"Yes. It turns out he was just about the first one Spekkio gave magic to. He is extremely loyal to the Earthbound ones, as none of his family are Enlightened."
Zeal frowned. "No family here? There's no guiding force, to teach him how to use his powers?"
"Your majesty, I would respectfully suggest that you put an end to his miserable life as soon as possible. He can only bring you trouble in the long run."
"Excuse me!" The boy shouted. "Don't I have any say in this?"
"Hold your tongue before the queen!" Dalton shouted, dealing the boy a blow that sent him sprawling.
'What's gotten into Dalton?' Zeal wondered. 'As I recall, he was never horribly obedient to Vigo.' "Hold Dalton!" She said out loud. "Let him speak."
"Thank you." The boy said simply, pointedly not adding "your majesty" to his sentence. "My name is Greven Vecar. I was born in New Allegan, and have resided in Algetty most of my life. I see no reason to live up here. I did not request these powers, nor do I deserve them. The reason I helped my fellow Earthbound ones with the bombing plans was because I, like them, was greatly concerned about rumors that the Earthbound ones would not get to rise with the new kingdom. Rumors that have since been proven true."
Zeal frowned. "Damn. There's reason in his argument."
"You're not going to kill him?" Dalton whined.
Suddenly, a red light flashed in Zeal's eyes. Even though she was sure there was no background noise in the room, she heard a low whirring noise start up. "I didn't say that." She snapped angrily.
Greven, sensing that his well phrased, overly respectful, and somewhat convincing argument hadn't worked, gave up all hope of getting away. "Oh, you can both go to hell. Ever since King Vigo died, the whole world has been going straight down the crapper. Go ahead and kill me then, it makes no difference in the long run."
"How dare you speak of Vigo?!" Zeal roared. "Dalton, you're getting your wish!" Zeal's hands began to take on a red glow, and Dalton grinned sadistically. Greven made no attempt to defend himself. Just as Zeal was ready to unleash her spell, Schala appeared at the door.
"Stop!" Dalton was unsure of what to do for the moment, which probably saved Greven's life. It was too late for Zeal to stop the spell, so instinctively, Schala reached into her robes and threw something forward to stop it. The object turned out to be the pendant. It absorbed all of the power in the blast, and clattered to the floor, full of energy. They all stared transfixed, as the energy seeped outward along the chain, rebuilding the melted parts as it went. When the odd reaction was through, the pendant was whole again, and glowed a dull red.
"Schala, you really shouldn't have interrupted..." Zeal began. "Anyway, what did you come to tell me?"
"The machine is all ready to go. There's no reason why we can't begin now."
A grin spread across Zeal's face. "Well then, let's get skyward! Come along Dalton." Zeal got off of her throne and walked over to where Dalton's portal had appeared. He quickly followed and activated it, and they both vanished into the darkness.
"That's it?!" Greven screamed. "After they were about to kill me, they just drop it and leave?"
"I guess so." Schala said, gazing into the fiery heart of the pendant. "But if I were you, I'd try to keep out of her sight as much as possible."
"Well, thanks for saving me." Suddenly, the ground rumbled beneath their feet. "Whoah! What does that mean?"
"It means..." Schala began to smile, "..we're movin' on up!" Greven frowned. "Listen. I've got to go. I would suggest that you find a good place to hide for a few years." Greven nodded and ran out of the room. Schala sighed and teleported herself away.
As Schala appeared in the room, the three control mages and Zeal were already concentrating deeply. Gaspar was staring at the odd glow. "Hmm... This energy flux is unlike anything I have ever seen."
"Isn't it supposed to be?" Schala was slightly puzzled.
"Shh! Let them concentrate!" Melchior said. Gaspar and Schala obediently quieted down. With a final rumble, the plateau lifted clear of the ground, and rushed back up into the sky. "You just can't keep a good kingdom down." Melchior grinned. Schala giggled.
"Why was that funny?" Gaspar scratched his head. Schala just shook her head at him.
Now that they were rising throught the cloud layer, cold winds blew through the chamber. Zeal and the three mages were impervious to this. Despite the freezing wind, Schala could feel none of... that kind of wind that made her bone marrow want to freeze and shatter. She relaxed a little, letting herself enjoy the ride up.
This time, the journey passed without incident. Once they reached a sufficient altitude, their ascent slowed to a stop. Schala looked out the windows and breathed deeply, immediately readjusting to the surroundings she had known all her life. Zeal seemed to come out of her trance. "Belthasar?" She questioned the empty air.
"He's still working on the... uh... the "Blackbird," I believe he called it." Melchior said.
"Drat! Oh well, its really just a minor inconvenience." Zeal resumed her concentration.
"Mother, what are you doing? Aren't we done?" Schala began to get worried.
"Oh no Schala, far from it!" Zeal grinned, then resumed her concentration.
Schala didn't want to be in the room anymore, so she turned and ran outside. She smiled a little as she heard Gaspar exclaim, "can't keep a good kingdom down! I get it! That's hilarious!" But then her blood froze as she leaned over the edge of the plateau, trying to get a look at the land below through the clouds. Instead, land was rising up toward her. Many small islands, dripping with seawater, rose up to their level and hovered near the plateau. Suddenly, they seemed to break apart and reform, their shape altering perfectly to match the sides of Enhasa. Then, with a tooth rattling shudder, the fused to Enhasa, drastically increasing the size of the island. Schala felt a different wind begin to blow. Shouts came from the direction of the machine.
"No, your majesty! It isn't time yet! We're not ready! The control mages..." As the voices drifted off, Schala heard a huge cracking sound. It must surely have been audible all over the planet, it was so deep and intense. The wind she had been feeling went up from a breeze to a roaring gale, screaming in her ears. The cracking sound grew louder and louder, until with one deafening roar, it ended. Then came the sound of rushing water, impossibly loud. Schala really wished she could see below the cloud level. Then there was silence. A few minutes later, a gleaming new fortress came into view, dragging a mountain behind it. The black wind, which had just been a breeze before, was screaming now, threatening to freeze her soul and shatter it into a million pieces. Soon the mountain, which was even larger than Enhasa had been, flattened out into a large plain. Another gleaming structure had been built down below, but Schala could barely make out the details, it was so close to the horizon. As the land mass drew closer to their location, she lost sight of it all together. Nearer to her, she could see an odd lump that had to be the Blackbird. She was sure that, if she could see their faces, the workers would look very scared and angry.
"Sweet mother of all that is good and pure." She finally whispered. The black wind subsided from a scream to a dull roar. It rose in pitch slightly as another island appeared to the north of Enhasa. She was surprised to see a blue pyramidal structure in the middle of it. Schala guessed that the central continent's other main island was rising on the west side, but she couldn't see it from here. Suddenly, a large shape smashed down onto the Enhasa island from out of nowhere, and Karak materialized at the same time.
"What's going on?!" Violen demanded. "The planet is screaming bloody murder down there!" She turned her gaze outward, taking in the awesome sight. Violen tightened her fist. "Technically, I guess you didn't use any energy, but that hurt a lot!" Schala took a precautionary step backward, surprised by Violen's anger. Karak ignored the Weapon.
"Zeal did all of this by herself?" He asked eagerly. Now Schala looked at him funny.
"Yes, with that new energy source we discovered." Schala frowned. Then she said to herself, 'Yes, that was way, waaaaaaaay too easy. A feat like this should have taken four mages as powerful as dad, with a Sun stone for each one! We're not getting this energy for free... I just wonder what the price is going to be, when the time comes.'
"What power!" Karak exclaimed, a hungry look in his eyes. Schala immediately put him on her mental beware/dislike list. "The power of Lavos is unbelievable!" Then he ran off to the room where Zeal was still standing.
"Lavos?" Schala wondered out loud.
"An old word meaning "great fire." Violen explained offhand. "This is really not good. Tearing a gash in the planet like this... and you do realize, if anything ever happens to all three of those control mages at once, everything here will drop like a stone. And if something this big falls on land, it will destroy all life on the planet. I should force you to land right now."
"We'll keep over the deep ocean." Schala said, sensing a need to prevent a conflict right now. She saw Zeal was stepping out into the sunlight.
"Ladies and gentlemen, you have just witnessed the birth of the greatest civilization in the history of mankind! With this new power, no petty rivals, no monsters, no Weapons-" Violen snorted involuntarily, "-can stand in our way! We have discovered the ultimate energy source, as you can all see! I give you all..." Zeal paused for dramatic effect, "the Kingdom of Zeal!! Now, we are immediately moving this equipment to the Zeal Palace. Be ready for teleportation in five minutes." There were disturbed murmurs pretty much all around, before cheers rang out. Through the throng of people now surrounding her, Schala saw Karak run up, hug Zeal, and kiss her on the cheek. She felt a burning hatred rise up in her heart, towards both of them.
"Such arrogance..." Violen hissed.
Schala's rage dissipated as suddenly as it had begun. "Its funny. Even though this is exactly what dad would have wanted, I feel like she's forgotten what he died for." Violen just nodded in agreement. Schala stared at her toes. "Well then, I guess I'll gather my things, and prepare for our move to the Zeal Palace."
"Those who fail to learn the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat it." - A lot of wise people
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