The Island of Mist: Part Six
"Stones!" Logan shouted the command. "Now!" Each of them grabbed for their Stones. Focusing on the power inside of them was difficult in such a situation, and all they could think was that if they hadn't spent hours and days and months honing this concentration, they'd have no chance. As it was, they found the well-worn paths in their minds that connected with their power sources. Each of them flicked a palm out, and electric orbs grew quickly in the center of their hands. Much more quickly than usual. Sareece gasped, feeling the intensity of the magic coursing through her, using her as a conduit. The magic was more powerful here, enhanced with the magic surrounding them, and emanating from the pool and the walls of the cave. Tarin grinned. Del looked wide-eyed in wonder at his Stone, as if his child had just solved a difficult equation. Logan's eyes brightened, enjoying this new boost in power. They glanced at each other. Logan nodded his head. Release them now. Present a united front.
As one, they pulled their elbows back and then pushed forward, sending their own orbs towards Jezebel's. They collided, and a sizzling sound filled the air along with the strong scent of ozone. The orbs seemed to grow, touching each of them all momentarily before fizzling out. Logan shook himself, trying to lose the feeling that he'd just touched an electrical wire. His skin prickled. Tarin flexed his fingers, trying to get the feeling back.
"Wonderful!" Jezebel called. "I get to have some fun with you." A dangerous smile distorted spread across her face, which twitched slightly. The crew's counterattack had pushed her own backwards, and she'd received the worst of the currents.
"Split up," Sareece whispered, just loud enough for those around her to hear. "We need to surround her. We might be able to send her attacks back at her, but we can't just keep that up. We need a clear chance at her, and we can't get that if she's got a direct line to us."
"You're right," Logan said. "Let's go."
"My pleasure," Tarin said.
Immediately, they broke rank, each one sprinting for a different angle at the Drenched Sister. Jezebel narrowed her eyes and flung a furious frenzy of attacks all around her, but she didn't have time to power her attacks or aim them well before she had to deal with another oncoming attack from one of the crew. Most of her throws either missed or were negated by a returning blow from one of the crew. Still, she managed to send several blows close enough to her targets. The crew was getting worn out, dodging and attacking over and over again. Neither side seemed to be getting anywhere.
Finally, Jezebel froze in shock when Del caught the chance to hit her from behind. Jezebel realized there were simply too many of them for her to focus on all at once. Suddenly, she stopped on a dime. Her chest heaved. She looked exhausted. The area under her eyes were dark as a black eye. She was growing steadily paler - a fact that Del found disturbing, since she was already naturally as pale as the moon. Her entire body was tensed, but somehow her shoulders still managed to slump, sinking down against her will. Logan recalled her saying she was willing to stretch her powers, and she had meant it. The question was, how far could she stretch them before she simply collapsed?
She seemed to take them all in for a moment, turning slowly. The crew stood still, orbs spinning at the ready in their palms. Jezebel stopped her turning to stare directly at Logan.
"Look, we could end this now," Logan shouted. "You are literally destroying yourself. I know you want revenge, but you're not going to get it this way. You're only going to get hurt."
"No, no, no," Jezebel tsked, voice scratchy and tired, but bitter. "That... would be you."
And before any of them could move, Jezebel let out a howl, channeling all her energy into a single blast. She spun around like a blur, releasing the energy with the palms of both hands.
"SAREECE!" Logan yelled. He sprinted from his position, legs pumping as fast as he could make them, his breath coming out ragged from fear. His chest ached, and it wasn't because of the running.
"Oh, no, you don't." Jezebel had taken a few deep breaths, trying to regain herself after she'd given nearly all she'd had into the felling blow. Now she stood straight as she could and hurled an attack at Logan as he ran. He twitched from the shock, but not for long. Her attacks were weakening now after such a powerful blast, and he was so focused, he wouldn't have noticed even if they were stronger. He was numb to the attacks, deaf to the shouts of Del and Tarin as they both released an attack on Jezebel at once while her attention had been on Logan. He didn't see Jezebel turn around and start flinging her own counterattacks back at them with a crazed determination, even though each attack was weaker than the last. All he could feel was this ache in his chest. All he could see was the fact that the light in his subconscious that represented Sareece had gone strangely dark.
He skidded to his knees at Sareece's side. A lump rose in his throat. "Come on, come on," he muttered. "Please. Wake up." But she was unconscious from the shocking electricity of Jezebel's attack.
For a moment, he didn't feel anything at all.
And then he could feel nothing but anger.
He picked Sareece up and carried her to the pool. Cupping his hands, he took several dips into the pool and poured it on Sareece. He hoped that whatever energy came from it would help her, somehow. Then he turned around and ran back to his friends. He tried his best to keep his tread as silent as possible, hoping for a sneak attack. This was going to end, and it was going to end now.
Del saw him coming first. He cast Tarin a glance and tilted his head minutely towards Logan. Tarin nodded with barely an inclination of his head. His face still felt strange from where one of the electric spheres had grazed his jaw. If Jezebel saw his nod of understanding, he hoped she'd chalk it up to him trying to shake off the strange sensation of the electricity.
Logan stopped behind Jezebel and held up his hands. He nodded towards his palm. He let the power gather, let it strengthen. Closing his eyes, he drew on the magic around him, what bits of it he could grasp and contain long enough to channel into the swirling blue sphere in his hand. Del and Tarin understood the message. Let it grow. Store all you can. Game time is over. Tarin flexed his hands at his sides, calling more and more power, building up his own orb. Del's fingertips were alight with energy, sparks leaping from place to place with ever-increasing speed. But none of them attacked. They stood still, as if they were frozen, every thought and every ounce of energy they had pouring into the attack to come.
"Two of your friends seem to be indisposed," Jezebel said. She staggered slightly, listing to one side, but her eyes did not soften. She still looked as harsh and determined as ever. Two down. Two to go. Her chest rose and fell quickly. "You may be strong..." She chuckled. "But not that strong. It'd take all of you to defeat me!"
"It's a good thing that we're all prepared for that, then, isn't it?"
Del and Tarin looked at each other, grinning. Logan whipped his head to the side, the orb between his palms shrinking for a moment from the distraction. Was it...?
Sareece was on her feet. Her eyes glowed an abnormal shade of blue. In one hand was a spinning, crackling sphere, brighter than they'd seen before.
"You're through, Jezebel."
Jezebel looked stunned, and took a step back. But she rallied, channeling her energy as quickly as she could.
Logan refocused his attentions, pushing all the energy he had into his attack. He reached out further for the magic around him, and his orb grew until it was nearly the size of Sareece's. Del and Tarin did the same, their orbs smaller in size as they were unable to sense the magic the way Logan could. Why Sareece had suddenly gained such power was beyond any of their knowledge, but that could wait for another time.
"NOW!" Logan shouted.
As one, they pushed the energy away from them. All four orbs coalesced on Jezebel at once. It held her in a buzzing electric cage before it faded away. She fell, unconscious.
Jezebel had been defeated.
Sareece's eyes had dimmed. She staggered before she fell a heap. Del, Tarin, and Logan bolted towards her.
"What do we do?" Del asked.
"I think it was... I think it was the pool," Logan said. "I think that's what healed her." He was baffled, but his chest was near bursting. He didn't care if it made sense or not. He could have cried for the relief of it. He tried his best to get Sareece onto her feet, but she was unconscious, and the weight was harder to manage. Tarin noticed and put Sareece's other arm around his own shoulders. Together, they took her back to the pool.
"Del, can you guard Jezebel?" Tarin asked. "She might wake up, and I don't think any of us has enough energy left to deal with that." He sounded exhausted.
Del nodded solemnly and went to stand guard, looking back once over his shoulder at Sareece.
"Okay, you're going to have to help me," Logan said. He wiped a sheen of sweat from his forehead. "We need to get her into the pool. You're going to need to help me stand her up. And once we're in, I need you to help me channel the energy towards healing. Tsizhao taught us how, remember?"
"I remember," Tarin murmured. He might have smarted off, mentioned his memory was fine, but he realized that Logan was only babbling because he was scared. Del might have been one of his oldest friends, but Sareece was by far his closest.
They carried her between them to the pool. There were stone steps that led down into it, which helped them immeasurably.
"Okay, sit her down here," Logan said. They lowered her down until she was in a sitting position on one of the steps. "Now concentrate," he said. "Concentrate like you have never concentrated on anything before."
Tarin reached across Sareece and put a hand on his friend's shoulder. "Hey, he said. It's going to be all right."
Logan's nostrils flared as he took a deep breath. His eyes glistened. "She has to be okay," he whispered.
"We all want that," Tarin said.
"Of course..." Logan nodded. She meant so much to all of them. But for him, it was different. She was his best friend. He looked down, silent for a moment, and then back up.
"She's going to be okay," Tarin repeated.
Logan swallowed hard and nodded. "All right." He took another deep breath, this time for concentration. Tarin did the same. They both closed their eyes, put all their strength into reaching for the power, turning it towards healing. It came more easily than before, as if the magic were more willing. But it seemed like endless moments that they focused.
Focused and hoped.
To be continued...