The mercury crumbled against the gravitic impact, but before Dimas could tell the children to flee, it filled right back in.
Melchor’s dual-voice rose through the chamber. “No one leaves,” he said. “Not without our guidance.”
Dimas and Diego both inched closer, not wanting to give the man enough time to recover but also not wanting to walk into a trap. Dimas could see a few thick puddles of mercury that had been severed from the rest of Melchor’s body.
“The three of you will become great pillars of the Rainlords one day,” said Melchor. “We do not wish to kill you here and now.”
“You don’t say?” said Diego, also bearing a second voice with Yangéra. “Then let’s all just relax and talk this out over a nice game of hopscotch.”
Melchor did not seem amused by the suggestion. He was the first to begin moving again.
Dimas and Joana tried to slow him down as Diego moved to freeze the severed puddles of mercury. It would be a long process of whittling away at Melchor’s body, but Dimas didn’t see another way of defeating the man when they didn’t have the power to simply overwhelm him. Dimas could try smothering him with hypergravity, but that would be dangerous for everyone else, and the idea was to protect the reapers and children, not turn them all into meaty spaghetti.
More spikes came for him, this time too many to simply dodge. So he didn’t. Dimas inhaled deeply as he focused for the increase that he wanted. The gravitational bubble appeared around him and stopped the spikes dead, cracking and shattering them before they could reach him. Their broken pieces flew away from him and dug into the walls, letting a bit more light peer through fresh holes before Melchor covered them back up again.
It had grown dark, the only physical light source being that of Diego’s ignited fingers, but Dimas didn’t strictly require it. He could see the vague outline of souls. While they were still attached to people, souls were a kind of faint fog spread thinly through the body and only really noticeable in the darkness. A dim glow, essentially.
And then, in a fleeting moment when he wasn’t being attacked, he noticed something horrific.
There were too many souls. There was a second Melchor in the room.