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The black shadow swirled around Octavia in a mad frenzy, dicing up the rocks it could get to; and the ones it couldn’t, it left to Octavia’s magnesium transfiguration. With pan-rozum, the little old woman was no more, replaced with a white hot flame that burned with such intensity as to render Zeff hardly capable of looking at it. Rocks soared into that bright core and were rendered to ash. And intermittently, a singularity would pop up as well and devour a chunk of the Gargoyle’s body.
She was a whirlwind of light and darkness now, exuding more power than Zeff had ever witnessed in a single Rainlord. He couldn’t tell what had become of Evangelina and Santos, but if they had gotten caught up in the middle of that chaos, then they were probably not faring so well right about now.
The ground beneath their fight sunk lower and lower as the Gargoyle continued consuming it, requiring more for her giant form as Octavia kept destroying it. But more and more, the Gargoyle was getting closer to that white hot flame, swarming it with increasing mass. And soon, the heart of the fire was no longer visible, engulfed too greatly in earth.
Then, in a blink, Rayen’s swirling form was there in front of Zeff, wrapping her plump arms around him. And in another blink, Zeff was suddenly standing on a bridge somewhere, confused. Until the acceleration sickness caught up to him. He bent over to retch, and for a moment, every muscle in his body felt like it had disintegrated. Pan-forma struggled to heal him, and Rayen said something, but Zeff didn’t catch it. When he looked up, she was gone, replaced with the half-smashed corpse of Evangelina Stroud.
After a beat, Rayen reappeared with Socorro Garza, who fell to her knees and heaved all over the pavement.
Rayen said something again, and this time, Zeff could actually hear it.
“We are going back for the others,” she said in two voices. “If we are gone longer than twenty seconds, run and do not look back.”
And before he could so much as protest, the woman was gone again, leaving only a trail of faintly visible light to indicate the direction she’d gone. It led toward a cityscape in the distance.
A cityscape. At the foot of an enormous mountain range.
Rheinhal, Zeff finally realized. The hilltop that appeared to be moving must have been Sanko. Rayen had carried the three of them to safety.