Duvoss and Xuan were separated now, and Melchor’s body began to swallow them both.
Unsure what else he could do, Hector just kept flinging iron while he also worked on a spiked boulder above the liquid metal beast’s head.
A visible pulse of gravity burst through Melchor’s arm, and Duvoss fell away from him, still gripped by the severed hand.
And Hector dropped everything else, suddenly knowing his most important task. He bolted forward and lunged for the reaper. He snatched Duvoss up just before the wave of mercury could, and the mercury crashed against Hector’s shield and armor both, sending him flying once more. But his concentration held firm, even as he crashed through the north wall into an auditorium and took out a row of seats before his armored body finally skid to a halt.
He pulled Duvoss close and kept him positioned just behind the shield, prepared to endure another metallic tidal wave, but it wasn’t immediately necessary. He saw Lord Dimas buying them precious time.
‘Can you move?’ asked Garovel.
‘N-no, I don’t--agh...’ Duvoss barely sounded conscious.
‘Forget it,’ said Garovel. ‘Regenerate Xuan now. Hector will keep you safe.’
‘W-where... where is Xuan’s brain?’
‘I lost him in the chaos. Just try regrowing him.’
And Hector saw a tiny speck appear in his own hand--a dot of brain matter. He had no clue how Xuan’s previous brain had gotten destroyed, but he didn’t have time to worry about it.
Melchor came crashing through the wall like a freight train.
Garovel’s next words were kept private. ‘It’s time to cheat, Hector.’
And the young Lord Goffe switched hands with the shield. As soon as his bare skin touched it, he felt the enhancement course through him like a shiver that tautened every muscle, but he kept his focus. He raised a broad platform beneath Melchor, trying to throw him off and squish him against the ceiling, but the liquid mercury cut through his iron like butter and bounded closer, undeterred.
Hector launched himself away with a diagonal platform. The mercury caught up anyway and snaked around his leg, stopping him in mid-air before yanking him back toward Darktide’s gaping maw.
The iron spikes came out, completely engulfing his body, and Melchor crunched through them without a single care. Hector’s armor shattered and pressed against his flesh.
But Hector himself remained. Curled into a ball, he protected Duvoss and Xuan with his body alone.