Hector found himself upside down and in a corner, bundled around Duvoss, Garovel, and Xuan. He scrambled back to his feet, a bit surprised to discover that he wasn’t missing any limbs or even armor. His shoes had blown right off his feet, and his ear drums had been ruptured, but he was too concerned with present circumstances to even notice. The only thing on his mind now was that he’d lost track of Asad through all the dust.
But Garovel hadn’t. ‘Run left. Melchor is still after us.’
Hector bolted, following the scarcely visible wall. Then he stopped, but not because he wanted to. Something had a grip on his armor below the knee. He couldn’t quite see what it was, but there was no way he was going to wait around and find out. He annihilated the armor above the knee, slid his leg free, and kept running.
He came upon a sudden clearing in the dusty clouds and saw Asad. The Sandlord was already fighting Ismael yet again. Hector hadn’t been able to watch their repeated clashes very closely, but knowing all he did about Asad, it was informative enough just seeing that the Lord Blackburn had not yet fallen to him.
“Oh, hey, I’m still alive,” came Xuan’s voice, and Hector looked down to see that the man had regained consciousness. His already small body was still only half-regenerated, but at least he had lungs and elbows now.
Hector didn’t get a chance to respond. A tidal wave of mercury barreled through the fog after him. He launched himself out of its path with a slanted iron platform, but the mercury made a sharp turn and kept up the chase. Wide-eyed behind his helm, Hector launched himself again before he could even stop to regain his balance and went flipping sideways through the air.
A bed of sand softened Hector’s fall, and a massive barricade of crystalline spears shot up to defend him from another cage of frozen mercury that tried to box him in. They kept an escape route open for him while simultaneously launching daggers at Melchor, not that they did much good. Hector fled the glass shelter just as Darktide crashed through it, sending fist-sized shards in all directions.
Another iron platform shot Hector up past the second floor, all the way to the third, and his bare feet hit cold rock again. He checked on Xuan again and wanted to cry when he saw that barely any progress had been made after all that effort.