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At the speeds that Rayen’s body moved, a normal human would have been rent to dust. If it weren’t for Zeff’s passive soul defenses, he knew that he and Axiolis would not have survived, either.
Such were the limits of Rayen’s ability. She could move within one of two speed ranges: that of an unaided human, or that of pure light. Everything in between those two extremes was impossible. And unfortunately, this also meant that Rayen could not bring any of the weaker servants here without maiming or killing them. Even carrying reapers by themselves would not work because it was impossible for her to maintain a strong enough grip on them. If she tried, her soul would simply tear through the reaper, instead.
Moreover, the speed was a danger to Rayen herself, Axiolis knew, on top of being difficult to control. If she went too far with a single leap, her own body would break down, taking the merged souls with it. It was the same for every “light-wielder” who dared to use pan-rozum.
For now, Zeff would have to stifle his anger at Rayen for forcing him to retreat. He understood why she had done it, of course, but still. His and Axiolis’ collective pride wanted to rush back to the battlefield at that very moment.
But he didn’t. Reason won out as he helped the regenerating Evangelina to her feet and then did the same for Socorro. He tried to explain the abrupt change in circumstances.
And he remembered Rayen’s words. Twenty seconds, she had said. That didn’t seem like nearly enough time to wait before deciding on a full retreat. Zeff wasn’t even done talking to Socorro and Evangelina before time expired.
Nonetheless, they waited, and it very quickly became clear that Rayen was not going to return.
They had a decision to make.
“We must not delay,” said Socorro. “Rayen gave us the opportunity to run. We should trust her judgment and go.”
Zeff wanted to argue, and so did Evangelina, by the look on her face. But neither did. Difficult as it was to admit, Socorro was probably correct. Even if it meant abandoning all of their forces. Abandoning Francisco...
Socorro started walking, and after a fashion, the Lady Stroud and the Lord Elroy followed.
They had taken too long, however.
Zeff and Axiolis sensed someone approaching from the sky, moving at jet speed. Captain General Parson Miles was not going to let them flee so easily, it would seem.