Chapter One Hundred Six: ‘When the waters run red...’
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It seemed like no one wanted to make the first move. Even the gentle wind had gone, leaving the air so still that Zeff could feel his own heartbeat. And perhaps that wasn’t a coincidence. Zeff had heard that a strong enough soul could affect the atmosphere physically.
Indeed, the pressure of the Gargoyle’s presence was palpable. Zeff had felt it as soon as he met her, but now it was on another level. Everything seemed heavier. Even breathing felt somehow more difficult. Was this really just the field density of her soul? Filling the air with pure willpower?
It was a warning, he knew. His own body was telling him. This person standing before him was not someone he should fight. This person was a monster. And he was nothing. Thirty years as a servant? A child, by comparison. Helpless.
But no. That wouldn’t work on Zeff. He wouldn’t succumb to mere dread. The old well wouldn’t let him. His pit of boiling hatred. It wouldn’t let him forget everything that had brought him here.
Gargoyle or not, this woman was standing between him and his son, between him and the people responsible for Mariana’s death. So he maintained his concentration and tried to assess the situation.
The first point was hyper-states. None of the Rainlords were using them yet, but Sanko was already wielding pan-rozum. If any of their reapers moved to merge with them, she would undoubtedly attack. But she probably didn’t know who had which abilities, so she wouldn’t know whom she should target first. What they needed was a distraction so that Octavia and Rayen could safely merge with Wendy and Lonogren. Perhaps he could provide that for them.
At least, that was what Zeff was thinking until Octavia Redwater surprised everyone by stepping forward.
“Everyone, wait a moment,” the little old lady said. “I have something I need to show you.” She ripped the top of her cane off, revealing a white inner piece, which she grasped with one hand.
And immediately, Zeff could sense it, as could everyone else, he was sure.
Octavia pulled the rest free. A white blade, thin like a rapier but so much more deadly than that. Because it was made from bone.
Zeff didn’t need to look any closer. The foul aura leaking from it told him everything he needed to know.