The halls had been nearly-abandoned earlier. Now there was no-one in them at all except Taro and Emrys, and the monster somewhere ahead of them.
Next to him, Taro ran like a bull, head down, face flushed. Emrys surged forward, all speed and grace beside Taro’s implacable power. They would find it, and they would beat it, and he would bring Shahin home safe. It wouldn’t catch him off guard again, whatever it was. Surely it couldn’t stand up to the both of them.
Shahin wasn’t screaming anymore; when they’d started running, he’d been following her voice. But as if taunting them, it had left a trail for them to follow, its claws leaving long furrows in the carpet.
Well, he’d show it who it was messing with. It probably thought, because he was collared, he was a lapdog like so many others here. He wasn’t just some prettyboy, though. So fire hadn’t hurt it - he still had lightning, cold, raw force. And just directly destroying its flesh had certainly gotten its attention.
They rounded a corner to the teachers’ offices, and found the monster just opening a door Emrys hadn’t even known, next to the Director’s office. He’d grown; now he had to duck to fit in the hallway, and his wings were raking the ceiling. Shahin dangled limply in one giant hand.
“Hey!” Emrys called. “Big, green, and ugly!” He focused his will as the monster turned its head to regard him, and then let loose. “Meentik hiko!”
The lizard took a face-full of electrical charge, and reared back, hissing in pain as its nose sizzled; in his hand, Shahin’s hair stood on end. To Emrys’ right, Taro began chanting. “Aistrigh unutu;” the floor under the monster’s feet sank down into a viscous goo, and the lizard stopped smiling.
“We’ve got him right where we want him,” Emrys smiled at Taro, stalking forwards. ”Put her down, scaly, and we won’t have to hurt you more.”
Taro matched him, slipping around to the lizard’s side to get out of the reach of his claws. But the creature just laughed. “Meentik unutu sidiros,” it hissed, and a pile of sharp pieces of metal appeared in mid-air, “Meentik hiko aukume.” It flung out its hand, and the air was filled with shrapnel.
Emrys and Taro spoke at once, a rapid thunder of syllables. “Abatu kwxe!” ”Buli unutu!” The deadly rain fell in a harmless patter a few yards short of Emrys, and the pieces aimed at Taro passed harmlessly through him. Emrys shook his head, advancing with a grim smile. ”Not smart, iguana boy. Abatu tlacatl!” He focused on the beast’s arm, trying to force it to drop Shahin, or lose the arm in the process.
The monster hissed in annoyance as its arm split and cracked open, then hissed again as Taro slammed into it with bruising force. The boy made a good tank, if nothing else.
“Tempero kaana,” the creature laughed, and a windstorm shoved them both backwards. “Tempero unutu,” it added, grumbling, and the floor spat out the creature, a shockwave rippling towards both of them.
“Abatu kwxe!” Emrys called, hoping to freeze the creature, destroying the thermal energy around it. It smiled wickedly, displaying an impressive assortment of teeth, and waved an arm as if to deflect a physical object. “Tempero kwxe, aposyntheto kwxe, meentik yaku qorawiyay kwxe!” it roared in response, and Emrys watched his spell take on almost physical form, frost lining the air in its wake, as it looped back and burst across Taro’s chest, swarming over him in a rapidly expanding mass of ice.
He stared for a moment. That just wasn’t fair.
The monster laughed cheerfully, as its other hand came sweeping down and scooped Emrys up in its grip. Its paw circled him completely, holding him from shoulders to hips, the claws ripping through his shirt and piercing his back, just barely missing his spine. It kicked open the hidden door, and stomped into the stairwell, chuckling softly.
Emrys struggled, but he could get no traction to push himself out of the creature’s grasp. Abatu tlacatl had worked before; if he could just get loose, he could get Shahin free, too. “Aba…”
The claws that had been poking into his skin were suddenly slipping between his ribs. “Shh,” the lizard laughed. It had reached the top of the stairs and was pushing open the door as it laughed.
The pain was like nothing he had ever felt before, like his entire body was being stabbed. Emrys coughed, and bulled on through. “Abatu tlacatl!”
The monster clenched his fist tighter, his claws going deeper into Emrys’ back. “No more of that, little mutt,” it hissed, “or it’ll be her spine my hand is in.”
He stilled, seething silently.
“That’s good,” the creature chuckled. “I like rage.” His wing spread out, massive green wings that seemed to block out the sun. Emrys realized belatedly, as his vision began to blur, that the damn thing was eating his anger. He fought unconsciousness but lost as the creature took to the air.
Copyright © 2009-2010 Lyn Thorne-Alder & Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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