I slammed into a wall as various objects came crashing through. These buildings were not built to sit at an angle, and as heavy furniture and objects shifted within them suddenly, walls broke open and floors collapsed. We were only at about a 45-degree angle now, but the place looked like a complete mess, completely unrecognizable from the school building it once was. Instantly, I began to think this whole thing was a bad idea. Anyone indoors could be seriously hurt or even die. Then again, Diba was trying to summon a demon into this world, so I didn’t feel like this was too extreme of a choice.
Worst of all, the building was still growing more and more tilted. At this point, the tilting slowed down, the entire island sounding like it was straining against the weight. The ground shook constantly with tremors, making it difficult to keep my feet up. I forced myself into a standing position, which ended up including one foot on the wall and one foot on the floor.
“Clyburn!” A voice shouted, causing me to look up.
Diba was on the other side of the intersection from me. Her face looked furious. Even if she wanted to, her little plan was absolutely destroyed. I didn’t have any dreams about fighting her to the death. I just needed to get out of there with Lyra. The authorities could deal with her. All I had to do was run. I was pretty sure I was faster than the stout middle-aged woman. I went to grab my communicator, only to realize it must have been knocked out of my hand when I fell through the wall. In the meantime, Diba straightened her glove and pointed it at me. I took a step back, my mind reeling as I looked around for my sword.
“I don’t need you alive to summon a demon into you!” She cried out.
I didn’t know if that was true, but that really wasn’t what was important. Diba believed that to be true at the moment in her insane mind, and I had the distinct feeling she wouldn’t hesitate to kill me. I could feel the familiar charge of electricity that Diba seemed to favor. This one felt like it was going to be stronger than the ones in the past. Perhaps, it’d be strong enough to stop my heart! I stumbled back. There were doors I could have jumped through, but I didn’t have time to think that far ahead.
“Goodbye, Clyburn!” Diba laughed as her eyes sparked with the light coming from her fingertips.
“Shut up, you bitch!” There was a thump, and Diba stumbled forward.
Behind Diba was Lyra, who had also seemed to fall nearby. She had picked up a loose piece of wood and struck it across the back of Diba’s head. Unfortunately, her strike hadn’t been strong enough to knock Diba out. It only managed to interrupt her spell. Diba immediately spun around. Lyra let out a cry as she raised the board again, but Diba caught it as she swung down. Whatever demonic strength she had throttled me with wasn’t gone yet.
Seeing the two women struggling, I could only let out a cry. The ground was now about a 60-degree angle, and the weight of the island tilted could be heard in every piece of scaffolding. My eyes caught something shiny, and I realized my sword was sticking out a locker it had been embedded in. I raced to the locker, stumbling as I went. After pulling it free, I took a look at the two struggling women and then the gap between the hallway. I’d need to jump about eight feet to make the width of the intersection. Taking a few steps back, I let out a breath and then moved to a running jump.
Just as I leaped across the intersection, Lyra apparently had decided to throw her back into shoving Diba into the hall. In mid-jump, I ended up slamming into Diba’s back. Whatever was going on in their fight was interrupted as the three of us ended up plummeting down the hallway half falling and half sliding. I managed to catch my feet as I hit the bottom, keeping my sword from stabbing into anyone. However, just as I went to subdue Diba, I heard a loud noise from above. Looking up instinctively, I saw a massive utility vehicle slamming through the hall I just slid down. It was larger than the hallway itself, a massive rumbling followed as it tore apart the walls on the way down.
“Shit!” I leaped to the side, not having any time but to flee as it plowed through the wall I was standing on. This just so happened to be the last wall to the exterior. I landed on a piece of unbroken scaffolding, my head hanging over a window sill. The window my head hung over had long broken. The vehicle was some kind of loader, and it rolled and tumbled down the courtyard, creating a path of destruction across the island. The edge of the island couldn’t be seen from here, so I didn’t know if it was going to fall off the edge or get caught on something.
“Clyburn!’ I heard a yell, causing me to look over.
Lyra was hanging from some scaffolding. As the angle increased, even more, she was left dangling precariously from what was left of the wall, her hands keeping her from a sharp fall following the path of the loader. I had numerous cuts and lacerations all over my body. I felt like I had been hit by a car. However, I knew that if I wanted to survive, I couldn’t stop there. I forced myself back up to my feet and carefully walked out on the scaffolding, heading towards the roof of the building, where Lyra was hanging.
The sound of something shifting caused me to look away for a moment where I saw Diba getting up from some rubble. Her eyes immediately locked on to mine. Shit! Why couldn’t she have fallen through the hole in the wall? She was glaring at me, her hand still out in a menacing fashion.
“Teacher… please…” A voice broke our deadlock, the pair of us turning to see a tearful Rebecca.
She too hung from a piece of wall, but she looked considerably less stable than Lyra. I looked over at Diba. Although this woman was crazy and murdered several students, Rebecca was her star pupil. She had even wanted Rebecca to be the woman who carried the first demon child. Somewhere, deep down, Diba had to care about Becky somewhere. She looked back at me, and then gritted her teeth as she started heading in Becky’s direction. I let out a breath of relief, nodding to myself. Even if it came to it, she was closer to Becky, and I didn’t have the time to save both of them.
I headed toward Lyra, while Diba made her way to the grateful-looking Becky. I sheathed my sword as I went so I could have some more balance. As I did this, I noticed the ropes I had tied to the window at my feet below. The other side was tied to the tree down in the courtyard. Nodding to myself, I quickly pulled off one of the ropes and tied it to my ankle. At the very least, I didn’t think that large tree would go spiraling off the side of the island. With that safety net, I felt a bit more confident making the rest of my way to Lyra.
I immediately kneeled and helped Lyra up. As soon as she was on the scaffolding, her hands wrapped around me and she gave me a kiss. Almost by instinct, my chakra pressed against hers. Our magic surged into each other for a moment, causing our bodies to tingle, the kiss feeling far closer and far more intimate than previously imaginable. It was something almost like the Lilith contract. For the briefest of seconds, I felt her feelings and emotions. She was confused and scared, and frantic, but she also had the feeling that as long as she was with me, she’d be okay.
Our kiss carried on for several moments, and when we finally pulled away, she was panting and her face was flushed. She hugged me tightly, seemingly not wanting to let go.
“Lyra…” I said softly, holding her shockingly curvaceous body. “I…”
Lyra pressed her hand to my lips, stopping me from saying anything. “I know…”
I nodded, looking down at the nauseating fall under us. The angle had reached 80 degrees now and looked to be a steep drop with little protection.
“Get to the tree…” I said. “It’s the most stable thing around.”
Lyra nodded, not arguing with me. I handed her a rope to use, and she took it. Rather than tying it to herself, she made sure it was sturdy and then used it to climb down the tree. Lyra was surprisingly spry and didn’t struggle at all to climb down. I tended to forget how sporty she was. It was while I was watching her climb away that I noticed that Diba hadn’t picked Rebecca up. She still hung their desperately, reaching for Diba’s hand. Her hair was burnt away and her face was covered in black ash and soot. Most of her clothing was gone. It might have been erotic if she wasn’t covered in burns that looked quite painful. The fact she had held on for so long only spoke to her will to survive. We all looked bad, even Diba, but Becky looked the most miserable, having taken hellfire at point blank.
“You shouldn’t have betrayed me!” Diba snarled.
My eyes widened. “Wait! No!”
Becky’s eyes turned to me. A small, sad smile formed on her lips. Diba kicked the board Becky was clinging to, finally causing it to break. She didn’t even scream as her body fell from the side of the building. I watched in horror as she fell. Her body slammed against the side of another brick building sitting on the other side of the courtyard with a sickening crunch. Her eyes were closed and I could see blood. Whether she was dead, I didn’t know.
Diba finally turned back to me, her hateful, maddened appearance looking more unhinged than ever. All I could see was red. I drew my sword and started heading in her direction. My brain no longer had any thoughts except to cut this woman down and see her dead. Diba gave me a sardonic look. She lifted her glove and a lightning strike arced out and hit the sword. My hands ended up tightening on the hilt as electricity shot through me. I stumbled down to my knees, nearly teetering off the edge. The bolt had been weak, only using a little bit of her total power which she sacrificed for speed.
“Clyburn… Clyburn… Clyburn… you never learn.” Diba spoke in a condescending tone as she walked towards me. “You’re just an idiot.”
“F-fuck you…” I said through gritted teeth as she grabbed my neck.
“Swearing… the language used by idiots when they have nothing clever to say.” Diba mocked.
She tossed me off the edge. I fell down at nearly a free fall. Then my foot snapped on the rope. Instantly, I felt a cracking sensation.
“Gah!” I screamed as my body swung, my ankle clearly broken.
My head flew passed where Rebecca’s body laid and continued to swing along the buildings across from the magic building. My head only missed plowing into the bricks of an outcropping by a foot. I let out a breath. I had made the rope just short enough. Suddenly, I noticed something lying under me against the door of the building. It was my communicator. Painfully, I reached out and grabbed it, putting it into my pocket. Grabbing onto the pavement, I forced myself to turn around until I was no longer putting weight on my broken ankle. Once I had hold of the rope, I looked up at the tree I was tied to. It was now sitting horizontal, and all of the hanged men were hanging down like grim directions. As to the women who had died at its feet, their bodies had fallen away. Some of them painted the building just under me, while others had fallen just past it and off the island.
“Ahhh!” I heard a scream, causing me to focus once again.
Lyra was on the trunk of the tree backing up into the branches. Diba was climbing across the courtyard seemingly using the concrete and ground to shimmy herself over to the tree. Damn it! Why was she still going? It didn’t occur to me that Lyra and I were the last witnesses to her little ritual. If we died, she could hide everything about the demon summoning. Even if she went to jail as a crazed WRA, the Lilith Cult would still be able to move around in the dark.
I grabbed on to my rope and started pulling myself up. It was a slow process, especially with my broken ankle, but with Brooke’s training, I could lift my body weight with my arms alone. I felt like I was in a race to make it to the tree. If Diba got there, she would kill Lyra. I had no doubt of that. Lyra was already at her wit’s end, only able to back up fearfully as Diba kept coming towards her.
Diba reached the trunk first. She didn’t seem to be aware I was climbing up, as she walked right over my rope, her eyes only focused on Lyra. I used my last burst of energy, forcing myself up the rest of the way.
“Stay away!” Lyra cried out, climbing out on a fairly precarious branch that looked like it could snap at any moment.
“Come here… girl… I’ll make it quick!” Diba chuckled, lifting her hand.
I had to stop this from happening. I patted down my body to see if I had anything I could use. Then, I felt one last balloon and smiled.
“Stay… away… form her.” I called out, panting as I pulled out my weapon.
Diba spun around, looking surprised. Her eyes immediately lowered into a glower.
“You… why are you still alive?” Diba hissed.
I let out a strained laugh. “One… could say the same… about you…”
Diba gave a displeased snort. “Well, this is something that could be remedied quickly.”
As soon as she lifted her glove, I chucked the balloon at her. She took a step back but still couldn’t dodge the burst that made her shirt wet and causing her white bra to show through her red dress. She looked down at her wet clothing and then let out a laugh.
“This was your last trick?” Diba looked up derisively. “I’m not so simple as your Senior child magicians. I’ve been using magic my entire life. Simple changes to the equation isn’t enough to prevent me from being able to cast my spells!”
“What?” I took a step back, hitting the ground at the base of the tree.
Diba put out her glove, sparks starting to form. “You… idiot. Die!”
The power grew more and more, but the fear on my face dissipated a moment later.
“Ah… about that… who’s the idiot after all? Water conducts electricity, dummy!”
Diba’s eyes widened, but it was too late. The electricity exploded out. However, instead of shooting out at me, it shot up the wet glove. Instantly, Diba started convulsing. Her eyes turned bloodshot, and a moment later the convulsing seemed to grow worse. She grabbed her wrist, steadying it as she pointed it at me. Steam started to rise as she burned herself from the inside out. Lyra let out a cry of warning. Diba’s eyes were intent. She was going to force a lightning bolt to strike me even if it killed her!
Panicked, I thought back to the previous times I’d seen this spell. Electricity was lazy, and always went the path of least resistance. That was why Diba electrocuted herself unintentionally when wet. It was also why lightning rods existed. That was right! Lightning rods! I drew my sword, and in a single motion, chucked it at her blade first. Her spell completed only moments after I released the sword. The lightning arced towards the sword, not me.
It flashed with electricity but still kept going forward. In a single flash, it slammed into Diba’s gut sending another arc of electricity flooding into her body. With the circuit complete, her body started to burn, her skin turning black. She looked up at me in shock while her entire body convulsed.
“You… fucker…” Diba murmured her last words, and then she fell.
Her body missed the building below. With the island now at 90 degrees, there was nothing blocking her from a freefall straight to the streets below.
Seeing her fall out of sight, I finally let out a breath of relief, nearly collapsing on the trunk. Lifting up my communicator, I signaled my sister.
“Straighten the island out, will you?” I ordered.
Lyra stood up, standing up out of the branches she was trying to hide behind. Her look finally turned into a smile. She started laughing in relief. I could only follow her. I had no clue things would turn out this way, but the fact we were alive and Diba was dead, it was everything I had sought.
“Clyburn… we made it…” Lyra said, tears running down her cheeks.
“Yeah,” I nodded, just as tearful. “We made-“
Lyra fell through the tree and a second later was free falling. The island was only just starting to right itself again. The angle wasn’t enough to slow her down in the slightest.
“Lyra!” I shouted.
Mia’s face, Ashton’s face, Rebecca’s face… all three of them flashed in front of my eyes. I had let all of them down. Without a moment’s hesitation, I cut the rope and jumped. I could see Lyra falling in front of me. As we fell, we moved faster and faster. Trees and buildings were passing on either side, but none of them happened to be in the way. I could see the angle of the island rising as we fell. Soon, I’d be sliding down it rather than falling. As my butt hit the ground I kicked off, trying to catch up to Lyra before she reached the edge. Soon, both of us were sliding down painfully across the ground. I could see the edge behind Lyra.
The angle was going up more. Up and up it went. Lyra grabbed desperately at the ground as she slid, only just managing to slow her down a bit. The ground seemed to raise up passed the point of being horizontal. I would have let out a breath of relief but Lyra’s momentum overtook the edge. She slid right off the side of the island in an upwards arc. I let out a howl, taking the last few running steps as I leaped off after her.
Once again, I was in freefall, but this time there was no island under me. As I pushed off with my feet, I had enough speed to cover the distance between us. My arms wrapped around Lyra. I had caught her. However, both of us were falling down to the ground below. The fall was definitely going to kill the both of us. I really hadn’t thought this through. I had merely jumped, unwilling to do nothing and watch Lyra fall to her death.
Her face had innumerable scratches and bruises. Her hair was a wreck. She appeared to be in pain. However, she still looked incredibly beautiful. She glanced up at me, only affection in her eyes. Dying this way, it wouldn’t be the worst way to go. I held her tightly, and at that moment, our lips found each other once again. Our bodies spun in the air, heading straight for the ground below. Yet, we remained embraced, our bodies holding each other tightly until the end.
My chakra points combined with hers, and a second later, I could feel a complete circuit between us. We continued to kiss tightly, our eyes closed. With air whistling past, time seemed to slow. I could feel our circuit, a none seed like me using a seed like her to be able to use magic. However, with a complete circuit, we couldn’t introduce a rune. Rune could only be invoked by running mana through them. For the most part, Rune’s were written out on paper. The best mages might be able to remember a Rune. After all, it was the math that mattered the most. For them, the Rune was in their head.
In… my head? My eyes flashed open. The Rune was in my head! We had a completed circuit! It couldn’t leak mana into an external rune, but whoever said a Rune had to be external? A Rune was merely a representation of a calculation, and that calculation could be performed in my head. My mind started searching the Rune’s I had studied in class. Instantly, I started to remember it. Air velocity, simple, that was the same as terminal velocity. Temperature. Altitude. Distance. I started crunching the numbers in my head. Math. I could do math!
Looking into Lyra’s eyes, feeling her lips pressed against mine, time seemed to travel forever. However, it had only been the span of a few breaths.
“I’ve got it!”
My mana, all of our mana, I poured it into the magical rune in my mind. The mana entered it freely. Lyra’s eyes shot open. In a second, she felt like all of her energy was being sucked out of her. I didn’t hold back a single bit. I threw out my hand and summoned my invocation. Wind exploded out from my hand. It wasn’t just a little bit of wind. It was a massive maelstrom.
It shot to the ground and then exploded outward. I had only been about thirty meters from the ground, and the force caused our momentum to nearly stop. A moment later we fell again. The ground came too fast at this point, and we both slammed into the ground painfully. Fortunately, we had hit a soft dirt path. However, our momentum was much diminished. I let out a painful cry, absorbing most of the hit myself. Lyra rolled off of me, curling up in pain as well.
We made it. I stared up at the island in disbelief. I couldn’t believe we actually made it. My body was disorientated, wind burnt, broken, and pained, but I was alive. We were both alive.
“B-b-bro…th…er…” The communication cut in.
I was much farther now that I was before, so the signal barely managed to cut through.
“Hannah!” I wheezed, picking up my communicator. “We made it.”
“I… s…. rry… I… so…. So…y.” The voice sounded pleadful.
Worry shot into my gut like a brick. Did something happen to Hannah? Did she… my eyes snapped up to the island as a loud booming sound came out. The island suddenly looked like it was getting closer and closer. The shadow the island cast was rapidly moving.
“I’m sorry… the engines… giving out…” Hannah’s voice came in clearer.
My eyes widened as the entire island fell down in freefall. This was my fault. I had caused this. The island was going to fall right on top of my head. I’d die. Hannah would die. It was more than that. The entire city would be destroyed by something that large falling down on it. Maybe even the mansion would be hit. No one would be safe.
“N-no!” I let out a cry, forcing myself up.
The pressure of the entire island suddenly falling was causing the chilly air to pick up. It felt like a warning for the disaster that was about to come. I reached over and grabbed Lyra, but I realized she was completely unconscious. As for her mana, I seemed to instinctively know she had nothing left. Magic! I needed magic! If I could cast another spell like I just did, maybe I could break the islands fall! It was ridiculous, but I had nothing else. I forced myself to my feet, stumbling on my broken ankle.
I looked around desperately as the shadow of the island drew closer and the subsequent wind continued to pick up. Immediately, my eyes caught a woman standing nearby. She was very short, and her entire body was cloaked. She was pushing her foot against a corpse lying on the ground. As I stumbled towards her, I was shocked to realize I recognized the corpse. Their shoulder was one of the few things that retained something recognizably after the fall that turned them to paste. It was the Lilith tattoo. This was Diba, or what was left of her.
I didn’t have time to consider why this woman was looking at Diba. “I’m sorry, I need you for a second.”
I grabbed her arm and spun her to me.
“What is this?” She cried out in alarm.
The girl looked shockingly young. She might have only been fourteen years old. It didn’t matter, I needed magic. Without hesitating, I planted my lips on hers. She let out a cry of shock as I kissed her. A moment later, I combined our chakra. With Lyra, it was like a gentle stream, the pair of us combining together. However, as soon as my chakra touched this girls, a torrent of power suddenly exploded out. I felt like I was being torn away by something extremely volatile.
The energy flowed into me with overwhelming might. My body was like a leaf in a hurricane. It was a deadly abyss that went on for all eternity. The moment felt like it went on forever, but it had to be less than a second. I realized I was on the floor, barely conscious. The woman was looking down at me. At that point, I realized she had red eyes and hair to match. Her eyes held a wry look.
“To think… a man would try to bind me right here…” The girl said, her eyes flashing as she seductively licked her lips.
“The … island…” I pointed up at the island, which was now past the halfway point of its descent.
The woman looked up at the island as if she hadn’t even noticed it, then she looked back down at me. “Hmm… so, you’re the one they’ve been talking about. How interesting… I suppose I can help you, just this once.”
She crouched down next to me and then grabbed my shirt. A second later, her lips pressed against mine again. At the same time, her hand raised up, pointing at the island above. Instantly, powered surged, but it felt more like my own energy was being pulled out of me. In that moment, every remaining ounce of energy was gone. I lost consciousness staring into the red eyes of this mysterious woman as the world fell on top of us.