Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Page 1079

More on the right,’ said Qorvass. ‘No, wait, that’s Hector and Garovel.

Sure enough, the Atreyan lord came barreling through the door, clattering and sliding against the stony floor in battered armor. He chucked an iron boulder behind him, which smashed the hallway he’d come from.

The boulder shifted and crumbled, so Asad helped him out, and quartz spikes filled the corridor.

“Th-thank you,” said Hector between panting breaths. He shifted his shield from one hand to the other. “I was coming to warn you about them, but, uh...”

Glad to see you’re alright,’ said Chergoa.

Hector returned a nod as his armor destroyed and reshaped itself. “Do we know what they’re after?” he asked.

“No,” said Asad. He lifted the bag on his waist a moment, and Emiliana heard a glassy clinking from therein. “Might be these, though.”

Shenado interrupted. ‘No time to figure it out, I’m afraid. North entrance.

Emiliana felt her father shift away from her grasp, and she looked up. “Papa?”

The man stepped in front of her. “Stand back,” said Zeff.

And she wanted to say something else, but she couldn’t find any words. It felt like ages since she’d heard his voice.

Marcos looked like he was about to shout something, but the north doors opened before he got the chance.

A small man strolled in and stopped on the far side of the room. “Greetings,” he called out in a soft voice. He had a reaper with him. “If it’s not too much trouble, would you mind answering a question for me?”

No one responded.

“Where did Darktide and the Seadevil go?”

Still no answer.

“They were in their rooms a minute ago,” he said, “but now, they’ve mysteriously vanished. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?”

Page 1078 -- CXXIII.

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Three: ‘O, rending union...’
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The ground rumbled again, this time with enough force that Emiliana had to stop moving so she didn’t trip. How her unconscious father managed to keep his footing with so little help from her, she had no idea.

Almost there,’ Chergoa assured her.

They’d descended a staircase already and fought their way through more invisible assailants, along with a few not-so-invisible ones. Emiliana didn’t know what prompted the change, but she wasn’t about to complain. It hardly seemed to make a difference to Zeff, either way. It was enough to make Emiliana wonder just how far these “instincts” or whatever extended.

Finally, they found Asad. The Sandlord was holed up in the middle of a large chamber--the remains of a gallery, perhaps. The globular design with balconies all above them didn’t exactly seem ideal. Emiliana felt like enemies could pour in from almost any direction, and perhaps Asad felt similarly, because it took him a moment to recognize them.

“Zeff?” Asad said, coming closer. He had a bag tied around his waist.

“He’s not--” Emiliana wasn’t sure how to explain. “He’s not quite awake.”

Asad put a hand on the Lord Elroy’s shoulder as he searched his sleeping face. “I’m glad you’re all safe,” he said after a moment. “This is not the best place for you, however. You should--”

Incoming!’ Qorvass warned.

Fire and explosions rainned down from the ceiling, and in an instant, and a blanket of sand and water extinguished them before vanishing into thin air.

Emiliana expected more attackers to fall through the smoke, but none did. Instead, another big tremor shook the gallery, followed by silence.

Looks like Dimas got them,’ Chergoa informed her privately. ‘Not sure why he isn’t joining us.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Page 1077

“Jimmy!” Madison shrieked, leaping out of her seat while still trying to brush the tears from her eyes.

Roman spared her a look as he nursed his hand. Admittedly, he’d never been very good at normal fighting. He’d been full of fiery confidence a second ago, but now that he was thinking about it more clearly, he might be in trouble if Darius decided to get back up.

Which he did. And then a few apparent buddies emerged from the crowd to join him.

“Gentleman,” Roman tried, “I’m sure you’re all very reasonable. Your friend here had it coming. Just look at the young lady there. He was clearly upsetting her.”

None of them so much as glanced as Miss Reach. “How dare you lay a hand on one of us, peasant,” someone said.

Roman scratched his brow. “Did you just call me a peasant? I’m sorry, did we travel five hundred years into the past, or are you just an idiot?”

Surprisingly, that didn’t seem to placate their anger.

And Roman sighed, knowing what was about to happen. In order to maintain his cover, he was gonna have to get his ass beat, at least until security got here. Assuming they would even bother to come help him.

Agh, I’m so bored,’ came Voreese’s unhelpful interruption. ‘This plan of yours is really unfair, you know. At least you get to enjoy all that ritzy, high society bullshit. Meanwhile, I’m stuck here with someone who can’t even see me.

Roman watched them close in around him. ‘Well, it’s not the most enjoyable party I’ve ever been to.

Oh, why? Do they not have those crab shits you like so much?

He avoided the first punch, as well as the second, but the third caught him right on the jaw and sent him stumbling into the grip of a much larger man. ‘They’re not crab shits.

Man, I wonder what Hector and Garovel are doing. Whatever it is, I bet it’s way better than this monotonous fuckery.

Voreese. Gonna need you to shut up right now.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Page 1076

“You think a few movies and a bit of fame have changed you?” Darius went on. “I suppose I can’t blame you. I thought so, too, at one point. That’s the only reason I ever bothered dating you. But I learned, so why can’t you? You have no value, Madison. Those gaudy clothes are worth more than you are. You can play dress up all you like, but we both know the truth. You’ll always be a junkie. And the only reason these people let you near them is because you amuse them. Their drug-addled little monkey.”

Roman could hardly even process what he was hearing. Mostly, though, he didn’t understand why Madison was just sitting there, listening to this. Granted, he didn’t really know her very well, but he would’ve expected her to tear Darius’ head off by this point. It made no sense.

Or wait--was she actually listening to him? Maybe she’d fallen asleep or something. Roman’s view of her was obscured by Darius’ head, so he couldn’t be sure. He refocused his hearing another time, trying to find Madison’s voice. There was something there, behind Darius’ rambling. Breathing? Uneven, maybe. Erratic. And slight hiccups, perhaps? Faint, but--

Roman’s expression went completely blank as he realized.

She was crying.

And Darius was still going. “But hey, it’s not your fault that you came from trash. Both parents addicts? You had no chance. Don’t you see? No one understands you the way I do. You’ll never find--” He cut himself off when he saw Roman pushing through the crowd toward him and stood up straight. “Ah, Jimmy. Is something--?”

Roman punched him hard enough to break his own fist.

The man dropped like a sack of bricks, but he wasn’t dead. Probably. Roman had deliberately not used his ability or soul power.