Twila felt it. It was a considerable distance away, but she felt it.
“Tw… Twila? Are you all right?”
She became aware of Lilly looking at her with concern. Axra was waving her hand in front of Twila’s face.
“You can stop doing that,” Twila said, gently grabbing Axra’s hand.
“You just froze in place,” Axra stated. “Something wrong?”
“I felt a really powerful spell,” Twila said. “I’ve never sensed any use of magic that fearsome… that powerful before. I thought that maybe Eritos might be behind it.”
“He… her name is Gail,” Lilly whispered.
“If she is it’s all the more reason to hurry,” Axra said. “If she comes after Lilly again we’re going to need that staff.”
“You’re right, of course,” Twila said. “I just hope it’s nothing serious.”
Axel registered a body forming near him.
“Zero, what are you…” he began. Zero interrupted him with a single finger to his lips.
“I sensed the magic all the way from Nervius and used your scrying gem to get to you. Just what is going on?”
“Typhon,” Axel answered. “We’re probably all about to die. You should’ve stayed home and protected Axra and Rachel.”
“We only have one chance,” Lulu said. He turned to Isaac. “Undo the seals.”
“Lulu you… you can’t be serious,” Isaac said. “Even with the orb’s power you can’t beat a titan!”
“Maybe not,” Lulu admitted. “But at least I can hold him off long enough for the rest of you to escape.”
“Escape to where?” Isaac asked. “Where could we hide from a being like that?”
Keep calm, Everyone! Reira’s voice was commanding. They turned to see her and Jayko running over. “We do have a chance,” Reira said. “We just have to dispel…”
“Impossible!” Zero interrupted. “The spell used to bring him here is too strong. Even all of us couldn’t…”
“Let me finish,” Reira said. “We don’t have time for interruptions, he won’t tarry long. We just have to dispel the part of the spell that forces his obedience. Without that we should be beneath his interest.”
“It could work,” Isaac said. “It shouldn’t be too different from when we stopped just the bulk of that snow spell. But it’ll take time.”
“I know,” Reira said. “Someone will have to buy it.”
“Undo my seals,” Lulu said. “I’ll buy you time.”
“Don’t ask me that!” Isaac cried. “I can’t… I…”
Moira did a quick chant and waved her hand over Lulu’s left ear. His earring fell to the ground.
“Go,” Moira whispered.
Lulu nodded. He whispered something to Jayko and moved to meet Typhon.
“I’ll get the troops together and plan a second line of defense,” Axel said. “Just in case.”
Lulu felt a sense of euphoria. The same one he’d felt the last time the seal had been undone. He saw the doorway blow open and Typhon step out. He charged right for the titan, his scythe slashing at his chest. The titan blocked with his human arms, they were torn open but quickly mended.
So he couldn’t stop him in his tracks, at least not for long. He’d just have to keep hacking away.
Let me in. He heard Reira’s voice. He undid the block that the orb put on his mind.
What is it, Reira?
Nothing too important. Reira’s voice echoed in his mind. I just didn’t want you to be alone when… when the time comes.
I see. Lulu thought.
Hey, do you still think the world’s irredeemably rotten?
Not anymore. Lulu’s voice admitted. There are quite a few terrible people but most people just live their lives as best they can and there are a few who try to make things better for everyone, Elaine, Isaac, Moira, Lennard, Jayko, Lore, You, Lexine. It seems that Twila and Shin are going that way too.
Shin watched his uncle cut Typhon’s chest open, vault over him and start slicing away at the titan’s back and wings. His scythe was almost too fast to follow. He glanced at his parents and Zero. They’d formed a small circle and were holding hands, chanting hurriedly in unison.
“Please hurry,” Shin whispered.
Lulu barely evaded a blast from Typhon. He retaliated with a slash to the titan’s tentacles before moving back and returning to strike Typhon’s side.
“Thou art strong, Mortal!” Typhon’s voice boomed. He ignored the slashes that Lulu visited upon him. “But thine is a borrowed strength. Tell me, how long can it serve thee before it turns thy insides to so much mush?”
Lulu ignored him, cutting away a few more times before retreating back. That was the key. He just had to keep hitting and running. His body just had to hold together until…
Lulu fell in his tracks. His body spasming violently. He vomited some blood, but tried to pull himself up.
Typhon’s hand lashed out and his scythe was torn into pieces. Then, the titan’s tentacles wrapped around Lulu, pulling him close.
“You see, Mortal? Tis the folly of thy borrowed strength.”
Lulu kicked him in the stomach as hard as he could and then did it again. He had to force the titan to release him, had to keep fighting. They needed more time.
So, your strength is not entirely borrowed,” Typhon stated. “So be it, I shall honour thee with a noble death!”
White flames erupted from Typhon’s tendrils. Lulu managed one final kick against the Titan before they reached him. Within seconds, his body was fully engulfed. Soon, a crimson orb fell to the ground amid a flurry of ashes.