Trigger finger held
forward, Molly marched onto the scene, her stride brisk and in
time, as if following the hastened beat of some unheard drill
instructor. Her face was already steel, yet managed to grow even
colder when she saw Renee's predicament. Initially, Red wore a
smirk that eagerly awaited a more worthy opponent. One look at
Molly's face reminded Red why parity and fairness were not
admirable qualities in demonkind. She was scary, unflinching and
above all- pissed.
Her first order of
business, naturally, was to berate Troy. “Please, Monroe, what
good are you if you can't even save Renee?” she said.
Troy wanted to say
something along the lines of saving her twice out of three
opportunities, but he used the time to catch his breath instead.
He had neither the energy nor the courage to smart off to Molly.
Red clutched Renee's
collar tighter and looked Molly in the eyes. Quickly seeing the
folly of that, he stared at her forehead instead. “Okay,
Sunshine, what's your first move?”
Molly dropped to a knee
and pulled a marker from her jacket pocket. With it, and without
removing the cap, she calmly drew a circle on the ground.
With a dismissive
chuckle, Red shot a flame at her.
“Troy,” Molly said
firmly, without looking up.
“Right.” Troy obeyed the
command, countering the fire spell with his water.
She completed the
circle: the marker's cap dug just enough into the ground to make
an impression. Molly fired her trigger and the circle glowed.
Standing, she flicked her finger toward Red and Renee. The
circle shot forward in that direction.
Red shot a fire spell at
the light, but it continued unimpeded. Molly again ordered Troy
to douse the fire. Once the circle reached Renee, Molly ordered
it to stop and turn around. It did- Renee went with it. The
additional force it created let Renee pull herself from Red. She
managed to keep her balance as she rode the saucer of light back
to her sister. Molly caught Renee and set her down alongside
“Yuki!” Molly barked.
“Go to work.”
Yuki stood over Kathryn
and Renee, laying side by side. “Uh... which one first?”
With Red still staring
her down, none too pleased by the circle trick, Molly could only
afford a cursory glance at the two. Both had taken their licks.
Renee's nose bled, her right eye was swelling and the bruises on
her forehead were sure to get worse before they got better.
Meanwhile, besides the burn marks on the collar of her shirt,
Kathryn looked fine. Her head was tilted back, gasping for air,
but there was no apparent damage to her person.
That made Molly's
decision easy: “Kathryn.”
“Molly?” Renee protested
in a weak voice, wiping blood from her upper lip.
Molly ignored her sister
and focused on Red, lacking both the time and the reason to
reconsider. Not only was Kathryn more useful against these
demons, but her pain appeared to be caused by a spell, which
Yuki was more skilled at healing. Renee's injuries were clearly
the result of something physical like, oh let's say, running
head first into a wall.
Regardless of whom Yuki
healed, for the moment it was up to Molly and Troy to represent
the good guys. They faced Red, but Molly noticed that Yellow was
up and seemingly active as well. Although she didn't know what
this second demon was capable of, she was already planning to
take him on alone, leaving Troy with Red. Just as she had
calculated the best way to get Yellow to show his hand without
putting herself at risk, the earth below her shook. Not a
dramatic shaking that could topple even the most balanced, but
strong enough to gather attention and prevent any further
She stepped back,
waiting for a subsequent attack, but both Yellow and Red
succumbed to the rumbling as well. In fact, the only one who
didn't seem to notice was Green, making it obvious that he was
“Hey, what gives?” Red
said, more surprised than inconvenienced.
Green's hands unclasped
and latched onto Yellow's tie. “Let's go,” Green declared.
“We're done here.” Green
insisted, folding his hands together again. With this spell, he
Yellow felt his head
again, still smarting. “I'm okay with that,” he said, following
Red grumbled. He looked
at Molly once more. She was starting into her trigger. Puffing
on his cigarette, he shot a pillar of fire directly in front of
her, before joining his two companions in flying away from the
Troy put the fire out,
keeping an eye on their withdrawal. The demons didn't fly fast;
anything faster than jogging speed required too much energy.
They hovered over the field and slowly drifted into the
distance. Troy found it strange and a little concerning, but
mostly anti-climactic. Their sudden entrance resulted in an even
Molly watched them
leave, shrugged and pinched her ear. “They just left.” She
proceeded to answer some yes/no questions. Eying the position of
the school and direction the demons had flown off, she replied
“southeast,” presumably so the MST could follow them.
“Molly?” Renee moaned.
Even if they weren't worth Yuki's attention, her injuries still
“Excuse me, I need to
tend to my sister,” Molly told her telepathic contact.
“Oh, I can-” Troy
volunteered, but Molly gave him a look. It was more of a threat
to use the glare than the glare itself. 'Do we
need to have another talk?' her look said. Troy stepped away,
nodded, and replied, “I'll stand guard.”
Although Yuki was not
able to magically heal physical damage, she still carried a
proper first aid kit in her satchel in case of certain
inevitabilities. Molly used it to dress Renee's wounds. As she
did, Yuki finished her work with Kathryn, who sat up, rubbed her
chest and sighed. The potion had removed the compressing pain
Kathryn had felt, along with any other traces of Red's fire
magic. Besides a few nicks here and there, she was all set.
Kathryn got to her feet
and, noticing the lack of an enemy, walked up to Troy. “So that
was it, huh?” she asked, almost but not quite disappointed.
“Yeah. As soon as Molly
shows up, they fly off,” Troy replied, stealing a glance at
Molly. Yuki had taken up the task of treating Renee while Molly
had resumed communication with the MST.
“Whatever. We got a few
shots in.” Kathryn managed a smile. “Nice shooting, Troy.”
They bumped fists.
Troy's smile was a bit brighter. “I think we did pretty well.
Glad it's over though.”
“Drink these,” Molly
said, suddenly right next to them. She offered them two small
vials filled with neon green liquid.
The color alone made
Troy wince. “Uh, that's okay. I'm good.”
“Drink these,” Molly
repeated, this time making it clear that it was not a
“Yes, ma'am,” Troy
replied, taking one nervously. He removed the stopper, thinking
twice before deciding not to smell the contents. One sip and
Troy gagged, finally spitting it out. During the short round
trip down and back, he sensed the taste of black coffee, Tabasco
sauce, lime Gatorade and possibly battery acid. It had ginseng
too, but that did nothing.
“God, what is this?!” he
Molly replied, handing a vial to Kathryn. Kathryn held her nose,
took a deep breath, downed it all in one gulp and soon felt that
compressing pain in her chest again.
“Can't we get those at
Speedway?” Troy asked, confused.
“No time. We'll have to
settle for Yuki's moonshine. We can't let them get too far
ahead.” Molly stared at the field where the demons had fled. She
didn't like the order to pursue, but did not protest the MST's
command. Not only did she want to know why they had attacked,
she especially wanted a chance to rip into them herself.
Troy wasn't sure what he
found more repulsive- the order to chase after the three demons
or the energy potion he was attempting to digest. And we use the
term 'potion' loosely, as that suggests a liquid fit for human
consumption. MST Crafting programs don't focus on making potions
taste like anything remotely tolerable until students reach
their second year. And that's more of a culinary elective,
mandated more by a Crafter's teammates than the school itself.
“What do you mean we
have to go after them?” he said, struggling to convince his
stomach not to reject the potion. He leaned over the grass in
case he was unsuccessful.
Molly shook her head.
“This situation is far too irregular to drop and let Uriel drag
his feet over it.” It wasn't just the whole 'attacking MST
students' stigma that perplexed Molly. The timing was too good-
less than two weeks after Richard Herman had left the area.
Recognizing that they were likely Zukoni, she dismissed the
possibility of an alliance with Kendrick: few factions were as
disparate as the elitist Hokoni and the Zukoni who made their
living appealing to the lowest common denominator.
“So they expect us to
take those guys down ourselves?” Kathryn asked, immediately
“No, thank God,” Molly
replied. “They're mobilizing some forces to help us out.”
“Mobilizing?” Yuki cried
in surprise. “They never mobilize in this world!”
Molly nodded, well aware
that this didn't come up often on Earth. “Apparently Uriel
developed a contingency plan this time. But I'm told it will
still take time for help to arrive, so we have to hold them off
southeast. “But they just flew off! How are we supposed to
“Magic,” Molly said,
shrugging. “You all know flight spells, right?”
“Uh... flying?” Kathryn
had never quite figured out the basic Weaving spells. Retaining
such information was right out.
“I can fly,” said Renee,
sitting up and holding a small cold pack to her eye as Yuki
treated her nose.
“Me too!” Yuki
concurred. “I got that down okay.”
Kathryn folded her arms.
“Great, so now I look worthless,” she said, stubbornly.
“That's not a problem. I
was planning on riding as well to conserve energy. I'd rather
not tap out again,” Molly said.
“R... riding?” Renee
asked, suddenly less confident.
“Yes, I'll ride on your
back and Kathryn can ride on Troy's,” replied Molly, dismissing
the implications and logistical challenges and making it sound
instead like a settlement over who rides in which car.
“I, uh, don't think...”
Troy attempted to say something insinuating that Kathryn was
heavier than him, but arguing with Molly while trying not to
insult Kathryn was too hard for him to attempt. In fact, Kathryn
shook her head unhappily and looked away just at what he did let
Molly also realized what
he was getting at. “Not a problem.” She walked over to Renee,
who was now finishing up to the last of her potion (which she
downed like any other drink with no reaction one way or
another). “All right, Renee...” Molly pointed to her sister.
Renee rose to her feet,
a little uncertain about this idea. Molly wrapped her arms
around Renee's waist and lightly draped her toes over Renee's
“Now fly,” Molly
With a nervous gulp,
Renee did as instructed and the two hovered over the ground. The
weight of an extra passenger did have a little effect, but it
didn't require much more energy to sustain the spell than when
she was unladen. As flight spells were already giving the finger
to gravity anyway, taking on additional loads required a
disproportionately light amount of additional juice.
“I guess that works,”
Troy said. “Hop on, Kathryn.”
Kathryn did, wrapping
her staff across Troy's stomach and using it as a sort of
handlebar. “Giddy-up,” she said.
Troy cast his spell and
the two hovered higher. Finding the new center of gravity and
maintaining balance was harder than the actual energy
expenditure. Troy and Renee took some time to acclimate as Yuki
packed up her satchel, cupped her hands and blew. She joined the
“Are we read- eep!” Yuki
shrieked as she realized her handicap: her trigger involved
exhaling and wasting a breath on talking made her fall. She
recovered in time and sailed back up.
“Yes, if we're all set,
let's move out. I'll explain the plan on the way,” Molly said,
pointing forward. Her gesture tilted Renee forward.
“Uh, please don't move
much. I'm still getting the hang of this,” Renee said,
Troy and Renee proceeded
forward, past the parking lot and over the moonlit field where
Troy and Kendrick had their first run-in nine months prior. They
floated past it and ascended to scale the nearby woods. Kathryn
gasped and squeezed her staff tighter, a painful blow to Troy's
“Ow!” He managed to keep
control of the spell anyway. It was just a matter of focus and
concentration; that vile drink had restored enough of his energy
for it not to be an issue.
“Sorry. I'm not used to
this,” Kathryn replied. She couldn't help but look down. They
were only a few feet over the tree cover and trotting along
slowly. She wasn't comfortable with this flying thing, and even
less accustomed to ignoring the physics that would demand some
sort of propulsion, speed and lift to stay adrift so long. Then
again, she never was that great in science class. She leaned her
head on Troy's shoulder and tried to enjoy the view.
“Hanging in there,
Yuki?” Renee asked out of courtesy. Yuki had managed to work out
a system where she would elevate higher than the other two, then
let herself fall as she regained her breath, resuming the spell
before she crashed into the trees. She had already had two close
calls with high-reaching oaks.
“Try shorter bursts
instead of bouncing up and down like that,” Molly suggested.
Yuki couldn't respond,
but gave it a shot. This worked much better, and allowed her to
stay more even with her fellow travelers. She still bobbed up
and down, more frequently now but with much less dramatic
climbs. Renee found Yuki's 'flapping' technique terribly
“Hey, what happens if
someone sees us?” Renee asked.
“We've been in a
displacement since just before Kurt called me. I imagine one of
the demons put it up,” Molly answered. The notion that the demon
in question had not yet taken it down did cross her mind, as
well as the fact that they had flied off instead of teleported
away. She was sure there was a good reason for both. She just
didn't like some of the possibilities that suddenly cropped up.
As she had considered before, the timing on this was just too
parties traveled at about the same steady pace. If anything, the
demons moved a little faster. To pose a math problem- assuming
that the rate of speed remains the same, with the demons moving
one mile an hour faster, how long before Molly and company
catches up? Rather than make you pull out scratch paper and a
calculator, we'll just go ahead and tell you that the answer is
a) Yes, this poses a problem. Partial credit for answering d)
They're moving so slow that by the time anything happens, the
story will be over.
something had to get in the way of the demons to either slow
them down or bring them down. This is where Blaine and Bryce
kind of uncomfortable with this,” Blaine whined for the tenth
time as he tried to maintain flight with Bryce riding
Blaine's shoulders, Bryce peered into the distance, seeing only
night. “They're taking their sweet time. Molly said they were
coming this way, right?”
so.” Although 'southeast' was pretty vague. If it was actually
south-by-southeast or some other odd degree, they could be miles
Molly had been right and the demons were going southeast with
compass-like precision. Bryce spotted the trio hovering high
over a hilltop. His 'taking their sweet time' analysis was spot
they are. Want me to take over so you can shoot something at
them?” he asked Blaine.
like a plan,” Blaine said, leaning back and letting Bryce take
over the flying duties. While Bryce whirled his crystal around
(much like a helicopter would if its blades whirled instead of
rotated), Blaine took a moment to let the Zukoni get in range
before firing three air gusts at them.
“Incoming,” Yellow shouted. All three dodged.
again,” Bryce said. Blaine did. Three more misses.
more time, then go back to flying so I can try something.” Bryce
held back a smile. Given the situation, he probably shouldn't
have been this amused by Blaine's failures.
took a deep breath and gave it one more try, assuring himself
that he wasn't this incapable of scoring a hit. But no, Yellow
saw the third wave of attacks and orchestrated another evasion.
think I can't see right through those puny-” Yellow began,
before crashing into the invisible barrier Bryce had set in
front of him. Red and Green flew right into their own walls. All
three were able to recover their flight, but damned if it didn't
Bryce connects and takes a three-nothing lead!” Bryce boasted,
resuming flight responsibilities. “That should soften them up a
time, Blaine switched to water and fired at Red first. Red was
shaking off his collision and didn't see the blast until it
struck him in the face. His head reared back, which in hindsight
wasn't too smart as it stuck his cigarette right in the heart of
the stream. It fell and therefore so did Red. The demon crashed
face-first into the middle of the field below.
many points do I get for that?” Blaine asked Bryce. But Bryce
was occupied- busy watching Yellow flying at them. Bryce focused
on a new spell to counter whatever Yellow was about to do...
which in hindsight was just plain stupid as it canceled the
flight spell both he and Blaine were relying on. They dropped
instantly. Blaine recovered; Bryce didn't and ended up kissing
dirt alongside Red.
didn't have time to mourn as Yellow was still threatening and
now holding higher ground... er... air. So Blaine flew under
Yellow, ignoring him, and went after Green instead. He flew back
up and hovered in front of Green, who was more earth-oriented
and thus pretty helpless in the air. Blaine canceled his flight
to launch an attack. Even as he fell, he carefully kept his
focus and concentrated on executing the spell.
failed, his concentration broken when his target was nailed by a
different projectile spell. Resuming his flight, Blaine looked
up and saw Yellow wincing.
sorry!” Yellow shouted. “Didn't think the kid would drop like
Green could hear, as the attack had sent him to join Red and
one honest kill and two unforced errors, two magi remained- both
air magic specialists capable of casting mid-flight. As
embarrassing as the falls of Bryce and Green were, this match-up
had promise. An aerial duel certain to become a
three-dimensional chess match as both Blaine and Yellow tested
each other's limits.
it would have been had it turned out like that. Unfortunately,
the whole thing took ten seconds. Blaine fired, Yellow dropped
his flight to both dodge and launch his own spell to send Blaine
sailing into the horizon. Pay-per-view subscribers everywhere
would understandably demand a refund.
took a moment to savor his victory. The second wave had been
vanquished, and he had survived where his comrades had fallen!
The pride he felt lasted about a minute. Then he got bored and
floated down to see if Red and Green were still alive.
were, but neither considered themselves lucky. Both had managed
to get protective spells up to cushion their fall, but all that
did was limit the ringing in their brains to 'blend' instead of
'puree.' Bryce remained on the ground fifteen yards away, not
damn!” Red exclaimed, standing up slowly. He lit another
cigarette while he waited for his surroundings to stop moving
did we get?” Yellow asked.
idea,” Green replied, clutching his head. “Good call, Jim. Time
for a smoke.”
demons were content to take five minutes or so to recover and
regain some stamina before hitting the skies again. They were
nice and isolated in what was probably a cornfield the rest of
the year. Only a gravel path connected it to civilization, and
even then to a scarcely-used back road. The moon was still
bright and thanks to the distinct hill to the northwest, they
still knew where they were going.
they chattered amongst themselves, they didn't hear the deep
guttural laugh that echoed nearby. It grew louder, until the
figure emerged and stood over Bryce's unconscious body.
he shouted. But they still didn't hear him. So he summoned an
energy ball and threw it at them, striking Yellow in the back.
It did no damage, but at least it got their attention. The three
demons turned around and finally saw him.
the darkness, Donovan's evil smirk gleamed in the moonlight. He
could not have executed his plan more perfectly. Not even if he
had actually done any of the difficult steps.
struck a dramatic pose. “You may have defeated my minions, but
in doing so you have fallen into my trap. The web is upon you,
the spider is descending and you will find escape is impossible.
Should you move, you will only become trapped further.” Hands on
his hips, Donovan boomed, “Prepare to meet your end at the hands
of Donovan Dunmar!”
Maintaining flight for a long distance, at any speed and
regardless of passengers, tested the stamina of even experienced
magi. For Troy, Renee and Yuki, it was beyond grueling.
Historically, this sort of travel was reserved for the classic
broomstick, at least until the advent of cars and public
transportation. Some of the older tradition-steeped academies
still taught broomstick flight, but contemporary logic dictated
that if there isn't a car nearby to get you places, what are the
odds of being near cleaning implements?
that Troy was beginning to tire, Kathryn offered an alternative.
“Hey, maybe you can ride on the staff or something,” she
think it works like that,” he replied.
I can arrange it,” Molly interrupted. Troy and Kathryn looked at
her, both surprised by what was seemingly a helpful offer. “Hold
it between your legs.”
good deal of uncomfortable positioning, they did so. Troy
squeezed the staff with his legs while Kathryn squeezed Troy
carefully aimed her finger. “Now hold very... very... still.”
fired off a levitation spell on the staff. It hit and took
immediate effect, darting up and striking Troy between the legs.
Not only did he yelp in pain, but he broke off his spell.
Thankfully the staff stayed airborne, falling just a little from
the sudden weight it bore.
recast flight and fought back tears. “Thanks, Molly,” he
welcome,” Molly replied, smiling deviously. Now in the unlikely
event that Troy somehow did find his way to Renee, at least his
ability to procreate was a little weaker than before.
Molly?” Renee asked. “I hate to interrupt you injuring Troy, but
what's that up ahead?”
squinted and barely made out the shape of an errant air gust
spell. “It's an air spell. Don't fly into it.”
was nowhere near the three flying groups, so it wasn't an issue.
The series that followed, however...
Troy shouted, barely escaping between two more gusts. Yuki and
Renee needed evasive action as well as nine or ten total gusts
flew right past them. After getting a frighteningly good look at
one, Troy said, “Call me crazy, but those looked like something
Blaine would do.”
did, he has terrible aim,” Molly replied, motioning for Renee to
continue forward. With any luck, they were almost at their
lasted approximately 6.5 seconds until Yellow raised him skyward
and dropped him to the ground. As grand an entrance as Donovan
had made, he was not actually prepared to deal with the victims
he had ensnared. So it didn't take long for him to join Bryce in
an unconscious heap.
anyway,” Green began, completely unaffected by Donovan's antics
and subsequent demise. “We'd better tell Kaz we're running
attempted to dial the boss with his cell phone, but got zero
reception in such a remote area. “Damn, there's no service out
here. How's he gonna know where we are?”
answer, of course, is magic. A pair of high-beam headlights
shined directly on the three. They were attached to a pick-up
truck that also carried Kaz Pormoglio himself. He exited the
passenger side of the vehicle and approached them. Even against
the blinding lights, the henchmen could tell it was him just by
the hell are you guys sitting around for?” said Kaz, eying each
of them impatiently.
some pests to deal with. Made some of us crash,” Yellow
answered, gesturing to Green and Red.
“Crashed?! Against those kids? Don't even start. If that Hokoni
found out, he'd laugh his head off. I'll tell him you stopped
for a cigarette break.”
vouch for that,” Red replied, hoisting his evidence.
the other ones following us?” Green asked.
nodded. “Yep. That went down nice. Should be good and tired by
the time they get to the spot too.”
their way, but I'll take care of that.”
scratched his head, still ginger around the sore spot. “So
what's wrong with us taking our time? It's going to take the
kids forever to find us and we don't want the force beating them
“Actually...” All four heads turned skyward as they heard the
harsh female voice. The three figures flew over their heads and
descended down towards Donovan and Bryce. Renee and Troy landed
gracefully with their passengers. Yuki fluttered through a
turbulent descent marred by choppy breaths and a failure to land
on her feet.
ignored her and finished her dramatic statement: “Having us
reach you first won't be much better than the MST.”
Kathryn attempted to shake the levitation out of her staff, Troy
panted. “Can we, uh... take a sec before we fight them?”
you require it, Yuki can prepare another energy potion.”
stiffened. “Actually, I think I'm getting a second wind now.”
I look at Donovan, then?” Yuki asked, hopping to her feet.
shrugged. “Might as well.”
surveyed the group. He already knew Molly was worth taking
seriously. Kathryn as well- a big girl with a big stick. After
them? Not a whole lot. He let out a chuckle and said, “So this
is it, huh?
you here, Kaz?” Molly asked, ignoring his attempted put-down.
glanced at Molly, unwilling to take her eyes off the demons for
long. “You know him?”
bar owner. Suspected ties to the Zukoni faction. Pretty bold to
expose yourself like this, isn't it?”
flashed a smile. “I'm not worried. By the time my guys are done
with you, nobody still alive will know I was involved.”
about us?” Yellow asked. Kaz stared at him blankly.
than argue, Molly pinched her earlobe. “Yes, it was instigated
by Kaz Pormoglio and several local Zukoni,” she reported.
falling slightly, Kaz had no response. Now it was Molly's turn
to grin. She didn't, but she could have if she felt like it.
“So really, what's all
this about?” Molly had a finger at the ready in the event of any
funny business, but wanted to know what was going on before the
goings on went. It also gave Renee, Troy and Yuki a chance to
recover from their long flight, but Molly was only 33 percent
likely to care about that.
When Kaz didn't answer,
Molly tried the direct approach. “You wouldn't happen to know a
Hokoni named Kendrick, would you?”
“Yeah. Snotty punk
wanted us to shelter him a few months ago. We threw him out on
She narrowed her eyes.
“Did he say why he wanted shelter?”
Kaz smiled. “Yeah. We
had a good laugh when we heard what you did to him. Probably
deserved it too. Nice work.”
“Then why are you going
after us?” Kathryn asked. Molly shot her an annoyed look. This
was her interrogation.
“It's December. Nothing
on TV. You guys came up again and we were kinda wondering how
tough y'all were. A few beers and a few bets later... here we
Molly frowned. For all
the battles between good and evil out there (in certain worlds,
variations on Armageddon played themselves out every few weeks),
she ended up in the one started by a drunken wager.
She readied herself to
counter whatever attack would come first. Despite her defensive
shift, she replied, “Then I look forward to making your injuries
financial as well as physical.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Kaz
shouted, putting his hands up. “I ain't fighting you! Just these
Molly raised an eyebrow.
Honestly, she didn't think much of those three considering they
had struggled with just Kathryn, Renee and Troy. Adding herself
and Yuki into the mix, Molly hoped there was some sort of point
spread involved to assist anyone betting on the Zukoni.
“Oh...” Kaz continued.
“And these guys.” He put two fingers in his mouth and whistled.
Or tried to at least; not everybody could whistle like that.
Failing, he shouted, “Over here!”
At first, Molly's unit
didn't see what he was signaling. It still sent a ripple of fear
through them. Even without knowing exactly what it was, Kaz was
bringing somebody or something into the mix that was apparently
evening up the odds.
The artillery came in
the form of six men, all as burly as Kaz and Red. They hopped
down from the bed of a second pickup truck, cracked their
knuckles and started the walk up to the field. They had no
weapons (or colors to assign, unfortunately), but whatever they
were capable of, Molly and company had good reason to be
Seeing the fear on their
faces, Kaz smirked. “Have fun with these guys. I gotta go set up
Yes, villains often fall
into the trap of leaving before ensuring the good guy is dead,
but at least Kaz had an excuse. Calling his lawyer and
deflecting suspicion when the MST comes calling was more
important that seeing a bet through. He turned towards the first
truck and took two steps.
That's when he walked
into a barrier that had suddenly appeared before him. He reeled
back and shook the sting out of his face. Rubbing his nose, Kaz
saw that the barrier stood not just in front of him, but also
stretched far to the sides, surrounding both the demons and the
students. At the root of the circle was a glowing line of table
salt. Before he could imagine how such a circle had gotten here,
he heard that familiar guttural laugh echoing throughout.
Donovan had risen to his
knees, suddenly healthy and with no sign of pain. Yuki jumped
backwards; she hadn't gotten halfway through her potion when his
frightening laugh announced his revival. Now rising to his feet
and raising his arms in triumph, he faced his victims. “Going
somewhere?” he said mockingly.
Kaz clenched his teeth.
Not only was he not going anywhere, but the support for Green,
Yellow and Red were still outside the circle, no matter how much
“Jim! Do something!” he
shouted to Red. Red, now with a replenished cigarette, shot a
hefty flame straight at Donovan.
It died as it passed
Molly. She had been on guard the whole time. And although she'd
never admit it out loud, Donovan's circle was awfully
convenient. The reinforcements were locked out and the
ringleader was locked in. Molly returned to position, ready to
weave another spell.
With a grumble and a
heavy sigh, Kaz loosened his tie and unfastened the top two
buttons on his business suit. “Whelp...” he began, scratching
his chin. “If you guys really want me to play too... guess I
have to oblige.” He made a fist and extended it forward. The
fist unclenched and released a pale amber mist into the circle.
It rose slowly, starting on Kaz's side, but within seconds had
spread enough to threaten Molly on the other side.
Yellow wasn't that
patient; with a spell, he propelled some of it forward at Molly,
who threw up a shield in time. He persisted, pushing harder
against the shield, but she wasn't letting down. So he shifted
directions and sent the gust after Troy and Kathryn.
The air pressure Yellow
had summoned hurt far more than the mist did. Although Kathryn
held her ground and was only pushed back a foot, Troy was sent
flying into Donovan's barrier. They both got a heavy dose of
mist in their mouth and nostrils. It didn't taste awful, better
than Yuki's energy drink at least, but within seconds they both
felt slightly dizzy. The taste registered with Kathryn: just as
Troy had tried to make his water spells more acidic through
cola, decades of alcohol consumption had given Kaz's magic an
The effect wasn't
significant yet, but as the mist engulfed the entire circle,
clearly it would start to invade everybody's bloodstream before
long. An extended battle would favor the demons in the long run,
making Troy realize one more problem.
“Donovan! You trapped us
in here too!” he shouted, looking up at the section of the
barrier he had just collided with.
continued. “Indeed,” he boasted.
“But what happens if we
can't beat them? What if help arrives and they can't get in?!”
But there was no
stopping Donovan. He laughed once more and replied, “There is no
turning back now. Either in victory or defeat... this will be
our finest hour!!”
Backing away from
Donovan, Troy tried pounding on the barrier. No dice. By his own
device, Donovan had made himself right, and Troy could only hope
they all weren't doomed by such circular logic.