Friday, November 27, 2015

Page 1122

There was little doubt in Xuan’s mind that the man in yellow was Ivan, the Salesman of Death.

Gohvis, the right hand of Dozer. And Ivan, the right hand of Morgunov. What they were both doing here, Xuan had no idea, but he could feel the whole room change, somehow. Possibly the whole castle. It was like there was some sort of wall all around them, encompassing everyone. Trapping them. Judging from the soul, it was the Salesman’s doing.

It didn’t matter for Xuan so much. He and Duvoss weren’t about to get up and run away. The children, though...

Xuan had to do something. He pressed his palm against the floor, but he still didn’t have the strength to even push himself onto his knees.

Ivan stepped closer to Gohvis. “I believe I asked you not to interfere,” he said. “And yet, here I find you, punching my men--quite literally--into a different time zone. Do you know how annoying that is? Being lied to by your friend?”

The Monster returned a low-toned growl, and for the first time, his lipless, nearly invisible mouth opened. “Release me. Before I release myself.” He spoke with two voices, though they sounded a bit strange, perhaps because one was so inhumanly deep.

“Why? Are you afraid the blowback will harm these nice people here? I presume that is why you--”

“No.” And the Monster disappeared into thin air, only to reappear a few steps over with his huge hand wrapped around the yellow man’s throat.

“Ha.” A blue glow engulfed the Salesman’s neck and loosened the Monster’s grip, allowing Ivan to step back. “One day, you will have to explain to me how you do that.”

“Stay out of my way,” the Monster said.

“Stay out of mine,” the Salesman said.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Page 1121

Four Abolishers remained, but Gohvis stopped mid-punch in front of the next one. The guy blinked at the Monster’s torso in his face and staggered back, falling on his ass and trying to crawl away.

Gohvis didn’t move any more than that, as far as Xuan could tell, but a blue glow had gathered around his whole body. And after seeing what had become of Caster, no one in the room seemed brave enough to ask the Monster what he was doing another time. Instead, Xuan heard the ceiling groan and shift as Dunehall settled.

Xuan noticed that the sound of battle had ceased elsewhere as well. Previously, he’d been able to hear muffled gunfire or explosions, but no longer. That might well have been Gohvis’ doing, too. Even if they didn’t know who it belonged to, every reaper and servant in the building should have been able to feel this soul’s presence.

There came a loud crash from the next room over, and everyone but the Monster turned to look at the half-broken door leading there.

And Xuan blinked, sensing it again. A second one. There was another soul with that same oppressive aura in the building. Had it only just arrived? Or had he simply been too distracted by Gohvis’ soul to realize? Perhaps a bit of both.

The door opened, and a man stepped through. The door snapped from its hinges and fell on the floor. The man spared it a look of mild surprise. “Well, this sure has gotten messy,” he said.

He wore so much yellow that he looked like a banana. His hat, suit, and briefcase were all so bright that they bled into one another. Only his shoes, his thin tie, and the slim band around his hat broke the trend, all by being jet black.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Page 1120 -- CXXVII.

Darktide was having trouble getting back up as well, now. His mercury bristled like fur, trying to retain its shape.

The Abolishers arrived through the cavernous hole in the far wall, even more numerous than before. They moved to engage again.

But then everyone stopped. All at once. And Xuan saw why.

A new figure was standing there in the middle of the chamber. Pitch black and tall. Too tall. Taller than any person should be. And bearing a tail. Along with eyes that glowed deeply crimson.

Primarily, though, it was this pressure that had halted everything. This presence. How had Xuan not sensed it sooner? He should have been able to sense a soul this powerful from a mile off.

Caster was the first to break the silence. “What are you doing?” he asked with two voices. He sounded as confused as anyone.

The figure didn’t respond.

But he didn’t really need to. The Seadevil knew who this was. Practically anyone would. That inhuman physique. This imposing pressure. Those black scales. There could be no doubt.

This was the Monster of the East. This was Gohvis.

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Seven: ‘O, dire Scourge...!’
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“Please do not ignore me,” said Caster. “I asked you a question. You are not supposed to--”

A huge black fist cut him off, and suddenly the Marauder was gone, sent flying diagonally through the ceiling. The hole he left behind didn’t stop on the next floor, either. Xuan could see blue sky through the rubble and sand.


The Monster moved so quickly that Xuan didn’t even see what happened to the next two Abolishers. They simply vanished into two more holes on either side of the ceiling.

The Seadevil’s eyes did, however, manage to catch the next three strikes. Two punches and a tail swipe. Two of the receiving Abolishers exploded into a cloud of blood and guts on impact, and the third joined the others through yet another hole in the ceiling.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Page 1119

Xuan writhed on the floor, gritting his teeth as he tried and failed to stand. He hated this. More than anything. Only being able to watch? No. He had to get up. He had to fight.

Liquid metal splashed across his vision as Darktide clashed with Caster. But it wasn’t just Caster, he realized. More Abolish trash had arrived. A half dozen unfamiliar souls were in the room with them now, all behind the Marauder. Xuan hadn’t even sensed them. What a failure, he’d become. Useless.

Four of them attacked alongside Caster, flanking Melchor. The lone Rainlord grabbed two and tore them both to pieces, but Caster barreled through the mercury like a bull.

Then came a flash of light. An explosion. Xuan couldn’t hear it, but he could feel it. The ground lifted out from under him, and a vague sense of movement enveloped him. He hit something. Probably the ground again. And when he looked out another time, he saw smaller figures.


His vision focused.

The Elroy kids. They hadn’t gotten out? No, there was a wall of debris in their way. The older girl was trying to punch and claw through it, but she looked unsteady. The younger girl was injured, and the boy was trying to set her down, probably to help the older one.

They needed help. But Xuan couldn’t provide it. He could only lay there, watching.

Darktide came splattering into view. Splotches of mercury hit the broken floor and puddled together, struggling to make their way back to the main body mass.

Zeff, Asad, Dimas, and all of their reapers oozed out of Darktide’s liquid form. Xuan had no idea how Melchor had managed to keep them safe. All but Zeff were unconscious.

The Lord Elroy punched the ground, trying to stand. He’d separated from his reaper, who now sat on his shoulder, apparently out cold like the others.