He could see what Sanko was gunning for below. The front chunk of the plane, which was carrying the pilots and most of the captive Rainlords. It vanished into the storm clouds, and Sanko pushed in after it. Wet and murky darkness washed over everything.
He tried to stay calm. He could only see gray. He could only hear howling winds. And at any moment, it felt like he might puke or pass out or both. Staying calm wasn’t really an option.
But Reza’s words were there in his head. ‘I told you Korgum would suck!’
It took all his focus just to respond. ‘Can you sense anything yet?!’
‘Well, there are six fighter jets out there! At least! Happy you asked?!’
They finally made it through the clouds, and Dunstan could see that Sanko had nearly caught up to the missing half of the plane. She closed the gap by stretching her metal neck down and biting onto the hull. And that was all it took for the rest of the plane to become hers. The metal bulged and grew, adding to the Gargoyle’s avian bulk.
Dunstan saw the jets Reza had mentioned. They broke through the stormy ceiling above, hardly more than specks to Dunstan’s eyes at this distance, but the cloudy trails they left behind made their positions clear enough.
More missiles were already en route, but one of the jets had boldly decided to draw in close to Sanko in order to spray her with a hail of gunfire. It only lasted half a heartbeat as the jet sped by, but that was still enough time for the Gargoyle’s wing to shoot out and snatch the jet out of the air. Her body wrenched to the side as she held on and devoured it whole, bulking up once again.
The next batch of missiles were there now, and Sanko bundled up around her passengers, wrapping them in a suddenly windless darkness. Dunstan heard a loud swiping sound, followed by the clang of metal on metal, and then a string of explosions. One of them, however, caught the Gargoyle’s side. Fire and shrapnel shredded Dunstan’s cabin.
And then he was falling through open sky without a parachute, his two seatbelts still attached to him but not the wall that used to be at his back.
His fellow watchmen were all around him, most of them in multiple pieces.