One, two, three seconds of deafening quiet pass before a sharp sound slices through the silence. A black, sharp, gnarled projection from the magic seal has pierced through Rotys’lav like he’s an olive on a toothpick. It rips an unnatural, awful sound from him as it lifts him, higher until he nearly hits the rafters, his blood raining down on the ground beneath like a localized squall. From the other side of the projection arises a monstrous form that can be none other than Kaguyos himself.
He is grand and imposing in a way descriptions and illustrations in history books could never do justice. Magic sloughs off of him in waves, again so tangible they feel like being tossed by an ocean storm. His spear-like projection splays into several offshoots, blooming like a daylily and ripping into Rotys’lav like thorns. He screams—an awful, gurgling sound.
ROTYS’LAV: Kaguyos, you—god—damned—bastard!!! I’m—your own son! I’m…
The projection carries Rotys’lav’s struggling, suffering form down to Kaguyos’ maw, and with a a series of horrible, wet snaps, Kaguyos consumes Rotys’lav until the sector apparition is no more.
Kaguyos moves his bloodied lips and speaks in seemingly a thousand voices. He speaks soundlessly, like he’s inserting his words directly into our minds. I cover my ears, but it does nothing to keep him out.
KAGUYOS: Our spirits are unified as one, now, traitorous child of mine. And soon, the others will join us.
The castle shudders again like it’s taking a wheezing breath, and even as a mere human, I can tell the barrier has been lifted now that Rotys’lav is dead.
A good majority of the apparitions run for it the second they realize they’re able to, and with them my hopes for survival dwindle down to nothing. The ones who do not run get caught one by one in a ceaseless barrage of Kaguyos’ sharp projections. Those brave enough to strike at him are stricken down just as quickly. The hall is streaked in blood and bodies in a matter of minutes.
Rotys’lav… is dead. He’s dead. He was our strongest contender, so much so that Krystoff was even willing to surrender his soul to him if it meant augmenting Rotys’lav’s chances of stopping Kaguyos. And now he’s dead, and everyone is scattering, and Kaguyos knows of our intentions. Krystoff and Regenald both look as shellshocked as I feel, which only confirms to me that this situation has shot straight down to a lost cause.
KAGUYOS: Does it grieve you to lose Rotys’lav like this, my Krystoff? Does it tear your human heart asunder? Let the pain remake you, child.
Krystoff winces like the words are a knife wound. He grabs my hand, then my arm, then before I know it he’s pulling me up into his arms, poised to flee.
KRYSTOFF: We have to get out of here, now.
Indeed, Kaguyos’ uncontainable presence seems to be ripping the building apart at the seams. Columns crumble, and foundation warps beneath us, and if he gives chase to us, I’d rather not be caught in a torrent of concrete debris.
Yet something invisible seizes me all at once, something that localizes itself around the metal on my left hand. The ring burns until it’s a pain I can’t feel anymore, and Krystoff nearly drops me in his haste to put distance between himself and the electric bolt of energy that pulls the flesh away from my very body, starting at the finger the ring rests on.
REGENALD: This is…