Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Day Nine-Hundred-Fourteen: Zizter

Everyone else handled the monsters.

Libby’s army, such as it was, appeared from nowhere. They were hidden beneath tufts of grass, behind trees growing out of the hills, under rocks, and anywhere else that cover could be had. They were goblins with crossbows, zombies with jagged swords and decaying fingers, soldiers with light armour and pallid faces, and all of them struck first, taking advantage of the sudden confusion created by Evangelina’s magic.

“I have something to deal with,” Evangelina muttered, and with a swipe of her hand she lifted into the air, buoyed by a sudden surge in the ground. “You handle the rest.”

Fynn threw Evangelina a surprised look. The plan had been to draw as many of Doc’s forces here as possible, to deal with the side effects of killing the mad doctor with a minimum exposure to the rest of the Non, and to work together. Fynn needed Evangelina to do that, or so he thought, and he raised a hand in protest… but Evangelina was already launching over a hill, followed closely by another figure, fired into the air in a similar fashion. Fynn suspected he knew exactly who it was.

Fynn looked down at his mother. She was panting hard, grasping her chest. Strong, yes, but not much use at the moment. Then he looked down at the sea of monsters below, a writhing cacophony of snarls and snaps and giggles and screams, facing off against a surprise attack as arrows flew at them from all directions and zombies waded in to fight.

How old am I again? Fynn shook his head. Seems like kids my age should be playing with toys and getting in trouble. At least I’ve got the second half of that down.

Stretching out with his magic, drawing on Julius for an extra boost of power, Fynn extended a series of bubbles over every one of his comrades in the vicinity. This was no easy task, as there were several hundred of them hiding in the hills, and the zombies blended in with their enemies a little too well, but Fynn did what he could. His arms shook slightly as the strain of bolstering the defences of so many people took hold, and he could feel every little smack against his shields draining at his reserves.

We have this, Julius assured him, the little spider’s voice a comforting warmth in Fynn’s mind. Relax. This isn’t the first time, and it’s not even the worst time.

I know, Fynn replied, shaking his head. But… they keep… tugging… at me…

Julius soothed Fynn with a projected smile. It looked absolutely bizarre, coming from a spider with no proper teeth to speak of. Ignore them. They’re not yours anymore. Focus on your friends. You’ll still get her.

It was hard, though. Fynn had spent months with his mind constantly attuned to the werewolves, poking them in the right directions, trying to convince them that they were making the proper decisions when attacking this target and avoiding that target. Even with the strange, befouling influence of Kara attached to their minds Fynn could still feel them, their pain and their fury, and the lingering bond between boy and pack made his concentration waver.

It also drew wanted attention, because as Fynn focused while parts of his mind and his magic tried to wander, a vast, lumpy head snapped to attention and stared right at him, up the ruined side of the hill. It saw him, knew him clearly as a threat, and roared a shrieking challenge at him. 

“There is is,” Fynn whispered, mostly to himself. “Here she comes.”

Antonia reared up and over the remains of the dirt wall Evangelina had created at the bottom of the hill, digging her enormous claws into the soil and pulling herself free of the pit of snarling, confused creatures caught in a crossfire of arrows and melee combatants. Her huge, misshapen hide was full of snapped arrows and deep, purple cuts, yet she seemed completely undeterred, and her wild yellow eyes fixed on Fynn as she scrambled up the side of the hill, rushing towards her target with lethal intent.

Libby, still gasping for breath, tried to rise to her feet. She was in the way. Fynn gently wrapped her into a bubble shield, watch her tired eyes snap open to the reality of the situation, smiled apologetically, and hurled his mother out of the combat zone. She slammed on the bubble as she careened through the air, mouthing words Fynn couldn’t hear. He hated to think it, but she would just get in the way. If he survived the fight he would be in for one hell of an argument when they got back on the Sky Bitch.

“You guys ready?” Fynn muttered over his shoulder. “She’s on her way, like we figured.”

The two figures hiding on the other side of the hill nodded. They rose to their knees, offered each other a shaky glance - though one of them was as inscrutably calm as ever - and tightened their fists.

Antonia leaped high into the air ten feet before she reached Fynn, claws grasping for him, foul, blackened teeth snapping for his flesh, and it took all of Fynn’s effort not to redirect his attention from the battle below. His forces needed their shields. Fynn gritted his teeth, closed his eyes, felt the rush of wind in his face, smelled the foul beast hurtling toward him, concentrated

- and took a deep breath as Antonia’s mad rush was abruptly redirected, when, swooping in from one side, Cedric body checked the werewolf and changed her trajectory. The pair slammed into the side of the hill, digging a deep furrow in the grass and dirt.

“Got ya, you fuckin’ bitch!” Cedric cried, his mangled face stretched wide in a feral grin. Undead muscles pumping, he slammed a fist into the side of Antonia’s head, and the werewolf cried out in almost girlish surprise. “Bite my fuckin’ manhood off, eh? We’ll see about that! We’ll just fuckin’ see!

Cedric was big and Cedric was strong, but Antonia was larger, and more lethal, and she was so driven by her primal impulses that the death of Doc in the distance made almost no difference to her urges whatsoever. Even as the Kara parasite in her brain shrieked out and began to wither Antonia fought on at full strength, howling as she dug her claws into Cedric’s right arm and slammed him into the ground. Cedric grunted, the wind knocked out of his lungs, his strength ebbing as the might of his former master’s enhancements abruptly waned. He tried to fight back, but Antonia threw him around like a rag doll, plunging her claws into him again and again.

They’d anticipated this. They’d virtually planned this, suspecting that Doc’s death might also affect Cedric. He was prepared to go down fighting, the way he’d always wanted. He was, after all, just a distraction.

“Hurry… the fuck…” Cedric grunted loudly, purple blood spraying from his mouth as Antonia raked her claws across his chest and into his abdomen. He almost bit his tongue off as she brought him down onto the ground with a thunderous crash. “Hu… hurry… the.. fuc… fuck… up…”

Slipping into the fray with quiet, coiled precision, Antonio waited for an opening. It came easily, because his sister was not thinking about defending herself anymore, she wasn’t thinking about anything, she was just a mad machine that would, eventually, break down and crumble on its own. But there was so much suffering, and so little of the orc Antonio had loved, and so when Antonia grabbed Cedric and raised him into the air, perhaps intent to rip him in half, Antonio sidestepped over to his sister and punched her, as hard as he could, right in the throat. 

His precision could not have been more masterful. Antonia’s eyes widened, and she swayed in place with Cedric held over her head, her frenzied assault nullified. She took a step back, then a step forward, dropping Cedric to one side as though he were no longer any concern of hers. The veins running through her ruined body bulged and slackened, the purple light in them fading away, and the ugly ochre in her eyes dissipated, leaving red-and-white orbs behind. She coughed, and coughed again, and her shaking arms went to her throat, as if scratching at it would somehow reopen her windpipe.

“I’m zorry, zizter,” Antonio said. He frowned deeply, and, stepping out of Antonia’s way, he offered her a small, polite bow. “Ve vill meet again in ze next life, ya?”

Antonio collapsed. Her body spasmed, and as Doc’s influence and the lycanthropy riddling her body both died off in tandem she began to change, her thick, mangled hair receding into her green skin. But the corpse left behind was hideous, an insult to the former boxer, and Antonio was the only one who refused to look away.

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