“Yes,” Umbrus said darkly. “And I’ll get to it. When any human gets direct contact with a Zahteva, they momentarily become a Zahteva. That is why we would be so dangerous in the wrong human hands.”
“And we need your help,” Praden added. “We need every ounce of power we can get, which means you two will be included in our spell-casting.”
Darian’s face was of pure shock, mirroring Andrea’s own. “So . . . we’ll be Zahteva?” she asked.
“For a moment, yes,” said Verna. “And there’s a downside.” She looked too choked to continue, so Polla did for her.
“All spells cast do not affect us,” she explained. “So in becoming a Zahteva for a while, you still are vulnerable to the plague.”
“But how?” asked Darian. “If the plague is cured, how can we catch it?”
“Dead bodies killed from the plague are still infected,” Umbrus explained. “So you must be very careful when you go home.”
“Do you need time to think about it?” Pladen asked. “Take as long as you need.”
“No!” Andrea exclaimed, her voice sharper than she expected. “We have to do this. Need to do this. If we don’t, everyone will die. Nobody will care if Darian and I will die. Not compared to the sheer amount of people that will die if we do nothing about this.”
Darian’s face was pure agreement.
“So be it,” said Polla. “Right here, right now, we will begin.”
Andrea’s heart thudded with hope as the Zahteva, she, and Darian formed a circle. She held her breath as she joined hands with Polla and Verna.
The moment was intense. She knew everything. She saw everything. She could feel the magic that lived, breathed, and flowed through everything. She could feel the others around her, and the evil lurking over the horizon that was the plague.
Her mental spirit ran at it, kicked at the darkness. But it wrapped around her ankles and started pulling. The others pulled her sharply backwards.
She tried to wrap herself around it, trying to contain it, but it burst through despite her efforts. The others tried to do the same, but it was futile.
What could they do? For someone who knew everything, her mind was frustratingly empty.
But then it hit her. Rather than completely annihilating it, couldn’t they just weave it into the threads of the universe? There would always be darkness and shadows. Why couldn’t they embrace that?
The others slowly agreed. She started to work, grabbing a thread of the plague and blending it expertly into the shadows. It wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone anymore.
And then, miraculously, she saw the faint threads that used to be the plague completely vanish.